• Do You Let Circumstances Control
• There are different kinds of circumstances, but the truth is that we do
let circumstances control our life.
• God wants us to take control and not let them control us.
• The reason for this question is that over the years we have observed that
many peoples’ faithfulness, or lack of it, in serving and worshiping God
depends on the circumstances and/or environment in which they live.
• Or at least, that is their claim.
• They let these things control their spiritual life.
• Some might say that they would be more faithful if they only lived in
a better environment under better circumstances.
• Let’s see if this is so.
• Should a good environment control one’s behavior?
• Think with me. I believe most people would agree that the prodigal son,
when we read of him in Luke 15, had what many might consider a good environment.
• He lived in a good home under the best of circumstances, with a loving
father, money and servants.
• Yet, this “good home” environment did not keep him at home,
and away from sin Luke 15:11-13.
• He wanted something different.
• So he left his good environment to seek something else to satisfy him.
• You know how that turned out, don’t you?
• No, a good environment and right circumstance don’t always guarantee
• What about riches?
• Some might say, “if I just had more of this world’s goods,
I wouldn’t have to work so hard, then I could be more faithful?”
• Let’s see about that.
• One of the most materially blessed men in the OT was King Solomon.
• He was blessed with great wisdom, immense power and enormous wealth.
• The scriptures tell us he took in 666 talents of gold in tribute each
year (today’s monetary standards, at least 3 billion dollars)
1 Kings 10:14.
• But all of the things he possessed did not make him faithful to God 1
• Solomon learned all these things were folly, vanity and striving after
wind. (Read the book of Ecclesiastes.)
• Some long for a life in the Garden of Eden?
• What better situation could one hope to live under?
• Surely, such a perfect place with the presence of God, the tree of life
and every necessity provided for in life would keep one faithful.
• Yet, this beautiful Garden did not prevent Adam and Eve from becoming
unfaithful to God Genesis 3:1-7.
• The environment of heaven and the presence of God
• This might be the place that would keep one faithful.
• Who would ever want to give that up?
• But we learn that in spite of such an environment, there were angels who
rebelled, and were cast out of heaven as a result 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.
• From these examples we should learn that a “good environment”
is not the solution to keeping one faithful to God.
• Under the best of circumstances both men and angels sinned.
• The best of surroundings does not guarantee faithfulness.
• When one becomes so attached to the things of this world that they become
dissatisfied with God and His ways, they allow the situations of life to control
their relationship with God.
• The temptations of life become so strong that sin rules and they forget
God, the One who blessed them, “for every good gift and every perfect gift
is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” James 1:17.
• Instead they do as Paul tells us in Romans 1:21. “Because, although
they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful…”
• Being ungrateful to God for their blessings, they become unfaithful.
• Maybe a bad environment causes one to be unfaithful?
• Now, let’s look at things from the opposite perspective.
• Just as we have seen that a good environment does not guarantee faithfulness
we can also learn that bad situations and circumstances should not cause one to
be unfaithful and sin against God.
• Adverse conditions can influence a person, but they cannot control a person’s
• The Bible gives many examples of those who under the worst of situations
remained faithful to God.
• Would slavery cause one to be unfaithful?
• Joseph, living as his father’s favorite son had his life suddenly
turned upside down at the age of 17 when his jealous brothers sold him into slavery
• In the years that followed, he faced tremendous burdens and temptations.
• He was falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison for 7 years Genesis
• Yet, under all circumstances, he remained faithful to God.
• He controlled the environment under which he lived.
• He was in control of his actions during the various situations that came
to him, rather than letting them control him.
• Maybe the loss of everything would cause unfaithfulness.
• But a study of Job shows this doesn’t have to be the case.
• Job had everything one might desire, a big family, wealth, fame, wisdom
and good health.
• But he suddenly lost everything, including his health Job 1 and 2.
• Yet Job did not sin in this, lose faith or blame God Job 1:22; 2:10.
• Suppose you are persecuted?
• Wouldn’t that excuse you from being faithful?
• One can still be faithful in spite of such suffering.
• The apostle Paul is a monument to us that beatings, stonings and imprisonment
are not enough to cause one to lose faith Acts 14:19;
2 Corinthians 11:23-33.
• Living under such circumstances did not cause Paul to sin and lose faith
2 Timothy 2:12; 3:12.
• Paul could not control his circumstances but he could control himself
and how he acted during such trying times Philippians 4:11-13; 2 Timothy 1:12.
• Good or Bad Circumstances
• No, bad circumstances do not cause one to sin.
• Neither do good circumstances keep one from sinning.
• Don’t use a good or bad environment as an excuse to sin against
God and be unfaithful to Him.
• The previous examples show us that something else is involved.
• What makes the difference?
• It is not the situation in which one lives that produces faithfulness
• Rather, it is the attitude of our heart.
• The controlling factor in both types of situations is not outward circumstances
but the inward state of the heart.
• If we realize our circumstances are causing a strain on our relationship
with God, we must work to change our circumstances.
• That may require some drastic adjustments to our lifestyle.
• Those who are defiant and rebellious against God will sin, regardless
of the environment.
• The Jews are good examples.
• They were God’s chosen people, yet they refused to be faithful to
• Jeremiah wrote “But this people have a defiant and rebellious heart.
They have revolted and departed” Jeremiah 5:32.
• On the other hand, those who trust in God will rise above any situation
in which they find themselves and be obedient to Him regardless of circumstances
Romans 6:17; Daniel 3:17-18.
• They will be steadfast in resolve determined not to let circumstances
control their behavior.
• They put their trust in God completely, fully confident He will stand
with His people and do just as He has promised.
• They are then able to say, “What shall we say to these things? If
God is for us, who can be against us?”… “Yet in all these things
we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” Romans 8:31, 37.
• Some things we may not be able to control, but our faith is always under
• We must work to make our environment a clean, loving, faithful, and enjoyable
one in which others will feel privileged to enter.
• As such, we should be an example for others.
• What about your circumstances do you need to change?
By Carey Scott from an article by Tommy Thornhill
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