Circumstances Don’t Rule You

by Cynthia Jennings on August 31, 2022

Our circumstances should not define who we are or how we react. Rather as Believers, our behavior in every situation should honor the Lord Jesus and our identity should always be based on the salvation He’s provided for us.

When you receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior, He set you on course. As your Sovereign Lord, He mapped out all the bumps, turns, hills and valleys. He knew all the difficulties you’d face.

The Apostle Paul is a great example and his life stands as a testimony to God’s power and grace. His last written words, in his second letter written to Timothy, reveal the reality of God’s strength made perfect in our weakness{circumstances} (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The basic principle of circumstances not ruling us is seen in Paul’s response to his situation. The Philippians knew that Paul’s circumstances were not good. He was in prison and they were concerned for him. Yet, Paul’s response to their concern was to let them know how things were going, not focus on the circumstance of him being in prison.

When someone is overcome by circumstances, the focus is the circumstance. When you focus on the circumstance that’s when the circumstance will rule you.

Consider the way we respond when someone asks us how we’re doing. The courteous and expected answer is “fine.” When that same question is asked by someone we know genuinely loves us, we usually give them more information about how we’re really doing. We go into the depths about certain circumstances we’re facing. We might complain, share our sorrows and feelings or express we just need a shoulder to lean on. We might even seek advice or ask for prayer. While all of these responses are common, the Apostle Paul shows us a better way by his response.

The Apostle Paul doesn’t overlook his hard circumstances, and neither should you. Thus, he plainly states that he wants his Philippian brothers/sisters in the Lord to know the things related to him, his circumstances (Philippians 1:12).


The Apostle Paul speaks of his circumstance {his chains}, while in prison(Philippians 1:13)  where he describes himself as an “ambassador in chains”( Ephesians 6:20 ). There were also other believers who out of their selfish ambition and envy sought to cause Paul additional distress in his imprisonment (Philippians 1:15-17).


I’m sure The Apostle Paul didn’t enjoy being in chains or maligned by others. Yet, his circumstances didn’t overcome or rule him and more importantly he didn’t dwell on them. Instead, he focused on what God was doing in the midst of them, and in Pauls’ case the Gospel was being spread.


 Paul’s godly perspective is where he found joy.


You might be dealing with circumstances were focusing on what God is doing in the midst seems unattainable. God is not caught off guard. He uses tough circumstances, trials and tribulations we face in our lives to develop godliness as He matures us and conforms us into His image (Romans 8:28-28).

Paul and James laid out living truths in scripture to prevent circumstances from ruling us.

James 1:2-4 puts it this way, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Paul says basically the same thing in Romans 5:3-8.Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I ask you, is your focus on the circumstance or what God is doing in the midst of the circumstance?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am ruled by the circumstances in my life. I’m asking that you touch my mind. Give me the capacity to view any and all circumstances through the lens of The Lord. I pray for strength to lay my burdens at your feet. I pray for an understanding of how to use my circumstance for Your glory. I praise You for grace and mercy as You mold me in the midst of my circumstance, and I praise You in advance for no longer succumbing to being ruled by circumstances. In Jesus Name Amen!

PEARLStoPONDER: Circumstances, whether bad or good, when joined with a godly perspective will result in rejoicing.


Philippians 4:11-12-- Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18-- Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Corinthians 10:13— No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.


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