Vital signs- Sunday, February 21st, 2021
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you frame it.
The GOAT (greatest of all time) of reframing was the apostle Paul. Paul had a strategic plan for advancing the gospel—go to Rome.
If he could get to Rome and preach Jesus to the leaders there, the city could become a launchpad to spread the gospel all over the world.
When Paul finally got to Rome, it was not to share Jesus with government officials. He went there as a prisoner. He was locked up under house arrest, chained to a rotating contingent of guards, awaiting a possible execution. Paul prayed for an opportunity, but it was not happening.
Paul’s circumstances were out of his control. Circumstances are almost always out of our control.
You’ve been where Paul was.
You thought, If I just get this degree, I will get that job. You got the degree, but you did not get the job. You planned on being married by now, but you have not found Mr. or Mrs. Right. Or you did find and marry the right person, but everything went wrong. This is not the way life was supposed to go. You’ve been praying for years for your prodigal child, but God has not answered that prayer.
Paul was in that same situation—circumstances he did not want and could not control. He wrote to the church at Philippi about what was happening to him. What might he have said?
He could have written, “Now, I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me really stinks. I wanted to spread the good news through preaching to government officials, but that did not happen. As a result of this hell I’ve been through, I have decided prayer doesn’t work, and I am never going back to church again.”
But that is not what Paul wrote. Could have been, but no. Remember, Paul couldn’t control what happened to him, but he could control how he framed it. Here’s what he actually wrote to the Philippians:
“I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.”
Philippians 1:12–14 NLT
Paul was saying, “I had a plan, but God had a better plan! This is a whole different way to advance the gospel than what I was thinking. God has blessed me with prison guards who are chained to me. They have no choice but to listen to me tell them about Jesus! These soldiers have the ear of influential leaders! And, get this, every eight hours they chain a new guard to me! And they think I’m the prisoner. Ha! God is moving. I can’t wait to see what He does next!”
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you frame it. Reframe your mind, restore your perspective.