Topic: Philippians 1:1 - 18
Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians during a long and unjust imprisonment. But, even though Paul is in the midst of suffering, this short epistle is full of rejoicing. Paul never complains or casts blame for his situation because he learned to live above his circumstances.
How do most people respond to difficulty? First, they try blaming others for the problem in order to make themselves feel better. But blaming only results in broken relationships. Second, they may complain, which brings pity from others but only enhances the problem in their own minds. Finally, they search for a way out of the situation and, in the process, usually make things worse.
Paul knew that in order to live above his circumstances, rather than merely muddling through them, he needed to shift his focus. Instead of examining his problem and complaining, he looked to God. He praised God, proclaiming, "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:8).
God wants to hear our honest concerns, anger, and confusion about our trials, but He also wants us to trust Him. Focusing on the Lord and praising Him doesn't mean that we insincerely pretend to enjoy tough times. Instead, we can honestly acknowledge that He is in control of the situation and will guide our every step just as He promised. (Proverbs 3:5 - 6)
Believers have a simple choice. We can wallow in self - pity, or we can look to Jesus Christ and learn to live above our circumstances.