difficult places

We don’t have to be miserable, frustrated and unhappy in difficult places.    If you and I have been in the world very long, we’ve learned there are very    few days that go exactly the way we’d like them to go. There always seem to    be different things happening that can affect our plans. Until we learn that our    joy can’t be based on our circumstances, we’re going to have nothing    but what I call a “yo-yo” experience, which is up and down, up and down,    up and down. We have to find a way to stay happy, even when our circumstances don’t    suit us or we don’t get a breakthrough as quickly as we’d like–or when    people around us aren’t what we’d like them to be or they’re frustrating    us or there’s disappointment.   


  God is never going to put us into a situation or permit us to be in one, without    giving us the ability to be in it with joy. I believe God makes His grace available    to us each and every day. If God asks us to stay in a situation, then He is going    to give us a special grace, for a special season, to experience His peace and joy    despite the circumstances. It’s the kind of grace that causes other people    to look at us and think, I’m just amazed you are able to do this and still    have so much joy and peace. This is how it should be instead of us telling    them that we just don’t think we can make it.

Strategy #1: Let Your Attitude Speak

    As Christians, I believe the attitude we live with and the level of joy, peace and    stability seen in our life is what will speak to the people around us much more    than if we try to preach to them. It’s about how we live our life in front    of them, especially when things are not going perfectly for us all the time.   
    For people in places right now who are saying, “I’m staying in the situation    because I believe it’s what God wants me to do, but I’m so miserable,    frustrated and unhappy,” there’s good news. The good news is that God    has provided a way for us to deal with frustration– His grace. I know many times    we hear that grace is God’s riches at Christ‘s expense, and that’s    a good definition. But to be honest, it’s just a little bit too spiritual    for me. I need something that’s going to put it into a practical format for    me. I like to define grace as “God’s power to help us do whatever it    is we need to do.”

Strategy #2: Receive Power through God’s Grace

    Grace is power. It’s power, power, power! It’s God’s power    we receive by the grace of God through faith. Everything comes to us through faith,    which God also gives us.   
    Romans 12:3 says, …God has allotted to each a measure of faith (NASB). We    need to ask ourselves, “What am I doing with my faith?” Are we putting    our faith in ourselves? Are we trying to fix things ourselves by trying to change    ourselves or our family?  Or trying to get our boss’s attention so we    can make more money and get a promotion? If so, that’s not grace. It’s    our own works.
    But when we release our faith and trust God to do what we can’t do, we’re    putting our faith in Him. Then the grace–which is God’s power–comes through    the channel of faith and enables us to do what will just amaze us and other people.   
    Here’s my longer definition of grace: It’s God’s power coming    to us freely–meaning it doesn’t cost us anything other than just putting our    faith in God, enabling us to do with ease what we could never do on our own with    any amount of struggle and effort.

Strategy #3: Rely on God

    I believe every time we feel frustration, it means we’ve really stopped relying    on God, leaning on Him and receiving His grace and are trying to make something    happen our own way. Understanding this really helped me to see that I spent a lot    of time being frustrated. To help myself, I had some signs made to put up around    my house that said things like, “Works of the flesh equal frustration.”    Every time I became frustrated, the signs helped me remember I had tried to become    Holy Spirit Junior.  When I try to work things out on my own, in essence I’m    saying, “Okay, God, I appreciate Your being around, but watch me do    this.”   
    Most of us have a problem with an independent spirit. We have difficulty depending    on God for everything. Grace is not only the power for salvation; it’s the    victory we need every single day of our life. 
    In Galatians 2, the Bible says that if we receive salvation by grace, we shouldn’t    think we’re going to reach perfection by depending on our flesh. It’s    like thinking that God saves us and helps us when we’re at the end of ourselves    and ready to give up, then just kind of throws us the ball and says, “Okay,    now you go make the touchdown.”

Strategy #4: Keep Walking

    The same way we receive Christ is the same way we are supposed to live each day    of our life–in total, complete dependence on Him. Grace is like light. But what    we tend to do a lot of the time is fight with darkness, when all we need to do is    just run to the light. What’s the purpose of gathering in the dark, banging    into each other, struggling with the darkness and trying to punch it out, when all    we have to do is turn on a switch? The minute the light comes on, it swallows up    the darkness.
    Too often we struggle with ourselves and our weaknesses, trying to change, spending    time being mad about things in our life. But what we really need to do is just get    more light into the situation.   
    Galatians 5:16 urges us to walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit…then    you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh…. Notice    how it doesn’t say “conquer the flesh so you can walk in the Spirit.”   
    What we need to do is walk in the Spirit. When we concentrate on walking in the    Spirit, we won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh because we will be focused    on God, His goodness, our relationship with Him, and His love for us. Other things    will just dissipate because of the power of God in our life. Grace is power–plain    and simple. It’s the power of God available to us in whatever amount we need.



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