“…and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath…” (Deut. 28:13)
Circumstances cannot be denied or ignored; but they can be put in their place.
If you’re wondering where that is, you only have to examine the word a little more closely. The prefix “circum” tells us we are dealing with something going on around us, as the word “circumference” denotes the distance around a circle. “Stance” is a standing place or position. Putting the two together, we could say that circumstances are the way things stand around us at any given moment.
Now, if they are normally around us, it’s our own fault if we allow them to creep above us. There are times when we cannot change present circumstances, but we can always determine their position in our lives. Their presence may influence our decisions, but they should never determine them. They have a role to play, but for the child of God, they can never be the deciding factor.
In the first place, circumstances are temporary, notoriously fluid. What is staring us in the face today may only be hovering somewhere in our peripheral vision tomorrow. In addition, circumstances are temporal, as opposed to eternal. In reality, we, as believers, have our heads in the clouds (Eph.2:6). We are not oblivious to this world, for then we couldn’t interact and influence it; but we are above it to the extent that we recognize a higher commission that transcends mere, transient circumstances.
We do ourselves a great disservice when we fail to circumvent the circumstances. The next time you commend yourself for doing well “under the circumstances,” think how much better you would do if you were above them. When you look down on them instead of around at them, they look a whole lot smaller!