Life At Its Best: Don't let circumstances dictate your actions
By Jim Graff
Jan. 24, 2014 at midnight
Updated Jan. 23, 2014 at 7:24 p.m.
"Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react." - Charles A. Swindoll
Life can be tough. We experience things we wish we didn't have to. People affect us in ways beyond our control. However, one thing they can't control is our response. In the end, it's our decisions that ultimately determine our direction.
Joseph was a man who knew this well. He was the youngest of 12 brothers. At 17, God gave him dreams that showed him that he'd one day rule over many people, including his family. He excitedly told his brothers the news, but they weren't too thrilled.
They became jealous of him, so they threw him in a pit to die. But right after they did, they saw a band of Midianite merchants driving by and decided to sell him as a slave instead.
Things were looking pretty rough for Joseph. In his heart, he knew he was to be a future ruler, but in reality, he was now a foreign slave.
It looked impossible for his dreams to come to pass. It would've been easy to give up, but he didn't. He continued to trust God, and he eventually became second in command over all of Egypt.
We've all experienced our own pits in life, where we feel stuck and unsure of how to move forward. Sometimes, it's as a result of poor choices we've made; other times, it's because of the choices others have made.
The good news is that while we may not be able to change our situation, we can choose our reaction. We can make decisions that move us in the right direction.
One of those decisions is to trust God's power, even in the pit. In difficult times, it's easy to let our situation overshadow His strength. We become convinced that we can't overcome our circumstances. In those times, we must remind ourselves of His power.
Psalm 40:2 says, "He lifted me out of the pit. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along." God is more than able to lift us out of the difficult places. We must trust His ability to save and steady us as we pursue His path.
Then, we must live with an excellent spirit. In the end, Joseph fulfilled the dream God had given him, but it didn't happen overnight. He had to endure years of being mistreated, overlooked and lied about.
The same can be true for us. Like Joseph, we'll have people who come against us. They'll try to hinder our success. Still, we must continue to live with an excellent spirit.
Be careful not to allow bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart. Those feelings will eventually lead to wrong action.
Instead, make a conscious decision to live with a clear heart before God and others.
Continue to choose right actions, even when it's hard.
Let right responses lead you to the rewarding life God has for you.
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. Visit faithfamilyvictoria.com.