We have been dealing with victory over sin, Satan and self. But there is another area of victory we must know if we are to live a consistent life of conquering and continuing.
There are two kinds of circumstances:
1. Those I can change: these present little or no problem.
2. Those I can’t change but I wish I could: these present the problem.
The Key: I want to change ONE word in the statement, and it changes everything. It is not Victory OVER Circumstances……Most of us look upon contrary circumstances as intruders into our life, obstacles in the path blocking our progress and we must somehow conquer them, remove them, get them out of the way.
It is Victory THROUGH Our Circumstances. They are the MEANS God uses to bring us to the place of victory.
Isaiah 49:11 “I will turn all my mountains into roads…” the obstacles become the means….they contribute to our deliverance.
The Mountains ARE the path. We couldn’t get there without them.
Imagine the outline of a triangle. The three points of the triangle are the three points I want to make.
I. THE PURPOSE OF GOD: – This is the top of the triangle. “Conformed to the Image of His Son”…..Williams translation: “He marked them off to be like His Son.”
1. That image is our capacity to know, fellowship with and worship God. 2. God’s image in man has been marred, like the shell of a bombed-out building. There is still a semblance left but it has been crippled.. 3. The purpose of Salvation is the restoration of that image. II Corinthians 3:28; I John3:1-3; Phil. 1:6 4. God is working on Two Levels.
(1) A Promise For the Future.: I’m going to be like Him! In the twinkling of an eye.
(2) A Process in the Present. It is something going on right now. II Corinthians 3:18 “From glory unto glory”…degree by degree…not by one cataclysmic experience.
For some it won’t e a rapture, it will be a rupture!!! We’re supposed to be growing more like Him so the change won’t be so traumatic. a. Changed in appearance. b. Changed in essence, actuality.
II. THE PREDESTINATION OF GOD – This is the next point in the triangle.
1. Predestined: – To mark off beforehand, to choose beforehand.
Don’t try to understand or reconcile the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD and THE WILL OF MAN. Paul couldn’t in Romans 9-11. Eph. 1 :33 “IN CHRIST” we are chosen.
2. The Predestination of God assures, guarantees the Purpose of God. God knows if He leaves it up to us to become like Jesus we’ll never make it. Thus God chose me in eternity to be like Jesus….John 6 – all that God gives comes to Jesus and will raise up in the last day. “Father, all here and accounted for.”
Someday we will be exactly like Jesus.. ..GOD GUARANTEES IT!
Romans 8:30 “Glorified” – Isaiah 53 is in past tense….prophetic past. Can’t change what has already happened.
III. THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD This is the third point of the triangle.
1. The providence of God ACCOMPLISHES THE PURPOSE OF GOD. vs. 28: Things working together–that’s providence. ALL THINGS are being worked together to accomplish God’s purpose. Like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces fit together.
2. Definition of PROVIDENCE “To see before…” “TO SEE BEFOREHAND AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY.” God saw beforehand everything that would happen to me, every circumstance, situation… and planned accordingly…. made provision for every incident.
3. Greatest Illustration in Bible of This Truth: Genesis 45, 50 (Joseph) “It was not you, but God.” “It was not evil but Good.”
This is not predestination for God did not make his brothers hate Joseph and sell him. This is the PROVIDENCE OF GOD….God saw what would happen and planned accordingly.
Three times he says, “It was not you, but God.” He didn’t want his brothers taking credit for something God did.
(1) The Providence of God PROVIDES FOR EVERY EVENT IN MY LIFE. It causes things to happen that are beyond my power to accomplish.
(a) They were going to kill him but a caravan passes by and his life is spared.
(b) In Egypt, where a Hebrew was treated as an abomination by the Egyptians, he just happens to fall into the hands of the one man in Egypt who would recognize his worth.
(c) In prison, there happens to be a baker and a butler…dreams and famine. JOSEPH COULD NEVER HAVE ARRANGED ANY OF THOSE THINGS…
He was made Prime Minister of Egypt! – God causes things to happen that are beyond our power to accomplish.
(2) The Providence of God PROTECTS FROM EVERY ENEMY IN MY LIFE. – Causes things not to happen that are beyond my power to avoid.
His brothers wanted to kill him, they couldn’t; they thought they had gotten rid of him, they hadn’t; Potiphar’s wife sought to destroy him but through her he was delivered. THE PRISON BECAME THE PATH TO THE PALACE!
HOW DOES HE PROTECT? By making servants out of your enemies Joseph’s brothers actually made him Lord.
IV. VICTORY THROUGH CIRCUMSTANCES COMES WHEN WE CAN SAY TWO THINGS ABOUT THEM:
(1) God did it. God controls every circumstance of my life. To complain is to accuse God of mismanaging my life.
(2) God used it. God uses every circumstance of my life. They are the tools God uses to carve out His purpose. Illustration of Ruth.
a. To perfect His purpose. God is not interested in changing your circumstances, but your character. When the circumstances have changed your character, then he may change your circumstances but if He doesn’t it won’t matter because your character will be so changed you will be able to live victoriously in them.
b. To become the source of life to others. Joseph saved his brothers.
THEIR SIN BECAME THEIR SALVATION.
V. HOW TO ENTER INTO THIS VICTORY. I Thess. 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1) Make a list of every bum deal in your life.
(2) Make a list of every present situation you would change if you could but you can’t.
Start at the top and thank God for everyone….not FEEL thankful, but BE thankful.
The only alternative to Thanksgiving is Bitterness.
©Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2002