Situations don’t cause emotions. Before you react to that statement, read Philippians 4:11, and then respond, not react. When I first heard that simple truth years ago, I admit it was difficult to understand. I’m not asking you to accept it, just think about it. Is it about a situation or a belief system?
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in (Philippians 4:11, NAS).
Belief System or Situation?
I can hear your responses: “You stub your toe… lose your job… experience foreclosure… have a car accident.” All of these cause emotions, right? Do they? Pain, yes. But do they cause your emotions? What are some emotions you might experience? Anger? Despair? Frustration? Panic?
Different people experience different emotions. Why? Check out their belief systems. While we may experience negative emotions at first, our belief system will determine how quickly we process the circumstance and how well we handle it long term.
The apostle Paul experienced the gamut of adverse circumstances: shipwrecks, beatings, hunger, and imprisonment. And yet he learned to be content no matter what happened to him. Did those circumstances cause contentment? Obviously not. Could it be that what we believe about a circumstance determines our emotions? If so, what was Paul’s belief about those circumstances?
What people ultimately believe may cause them to allow anger, revenge, or discontentment to rule their lives. Or what people believe may cause them to respond positively and to love as Christ loved us. If we are convinced that problems and circumstances (or people) steal our happiness, we will “react” accordingly. Likewise, if we believe in a God who is in control of everything and will work out everything for our good, we will respond a certain way. If we believe that things make us happy, we may react negatively if those things are removed from us.
Examine Your Belief System
All of us are caught off guard at times, and we succumb temporarily to a gamut of emotions. Should negative ones persist, however, it may be time to examine your belief system. Ask yourself, what do I really believe about this situation? Who’s in control here? What do I ultimately believe about the outcome? What does God’s Word say about this? And what does He want to teach me through it?
The Key to Contentment
The key to contentment is our belief system. Paul “learned” contentment because of who and what he believed.
My Personal Prayer for You
Lord Jesus, whenever we encounter a difficult situation, help us to first respond, rather than react. Guide us in those responses, and help us draw the right conclusions. Turn the searchlight on our belief system as we ask ourselves, “What do I believe about this situation? Who is really in control?” Teach us that You are always available to help us process the happenings in our lives.
Show us the truth about contentment in Your Word. And thank You for loving us enough to help us accept that truth. Correct our faulty belief system, so we can see life through Your perspective, not ours.
You might enjoy another post I wrote dealing with contentment: 3 Ways to Increase Your Joy in Life.
It’s Your Turn
What do you believe? How does your belief system affect your responses and reactions to life? I’d love to hear from you anytime. You can always write me through my contact page. Just fill out the basic name and address info, and then it will come to me. Your name or info is not shared with anyone.
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