Points Covered: A practical blog that gives us wonderful tips on how to live above your circumstances. Three ways to live above your circumstances. Don’t succumb to your circumstances, live above your circumstances.
Introduction: Our circumstances can drive and direct our life, unless we learn to live above them. Most of us live in disappointment, depression and stress when we allow circumstances to control our life. Instead, the Bible asks us to trust in God promising God will direct our paths. No matter what your condition, what your setback in life is; God still has a great plan for you and you can live above your circumstances.
This morning we are going to see how to live above your circumstances in life?
Do you know that life will always throw something to keep us worried, stressed?
Nielsen’s study conducted on women in 21 developed countries give us a shocking revelation: Indian women are the most stressed lot in the world. 87% of Indian women live under stress.
Economic times survey says 46% of workforce of India live in constant stress and pressure, 43% have high BMI, 30% have diabetes and hypertension risk.
We are living in a world where our circumstances are calling shots on our life whereas you are called to live above your circumstance.
This morning I want to speak to you about a person in the Bible, who rose from his situations and lived above his circumstances.
John 5:1-5 The Healing at the Pool
1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
The scene is Jesus is at Jerusalem. He is here to celebrate the festival of the Jews. The Bible says he entered through the Sheep Gate. This gate was used to bring sheep to the temple for sacrifice. Once inside Jesus comes to the pool of Bethesda. Lying around the pool are the sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed people. Everyone has a deformity and needed a change. Among this group was a man who was paralyzed for 38 years. He had been a burden to people. He probably had little sense of self-worth.
John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” That sounds like an absurd question. Of course this man wanted to get well! We wouldn’t ask a starving man, “Do you want food?” would we? No!
Actually, it was a very valid question. When Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” Jesus is in fact asking, “You have friends who bring you here, and you’ve developed friendship with others who come here regularly. Your food is free and you are taken care of now. If I heal you, your life will do a complete turnaround. You’ll be expected to get a job and relate to people on a different level. Are you ready for that change? Are you willing to live above your circumstances?
I have come across people who if given an opportunity for healing, might actually choose to remain sick. They get so used to the sickness and their condition that they do not want a change. Some of them are free from responsibilities of life and they get everything without work. They are used to getting sympathy, money, love, care, and pity because of their sickness and they do not want to lose it; so they do not want to be healed.
Jesus is asking us the same question today. You are praying for a change, looking for success but do you really want a change? Do you know what life would be if your circumstances were changed or are you fine with your present condition? Do you really want to live above your circumstances in life?
1. Be Prepared for a change.
If you want to be live above your circumstances, be prepared for a change.
Illustration: As a country was in war the president made it compulsory for all able young people to join the army. A young man aspired to be in the army but did not want to go through the rigorous army training. He decided against joining the training. So he had all his teeth pulled out to make himself unfit for military duty. But when they took his physical, he was declared unfit because of flat feet! This man wanted to join the army but was unwilling for the training; he was unwilling for a change.
We pray Lord change my circumstance, but we have to really decided if we are prepared for a change. Change means change in circumstances, change in friends, change in responsibilities etc. Are you really prepared for a change? God will not give you what you are not prepared to handle. God will not give you what you cannot hold. He will not pour out what you cannot contain. If you want a breakthrough, be ready for a change.
John 5:7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Some Biblical manuscripts read that, “An angel of the Lord came down and stirred up the waters.” Many scholars believe the stirring of the water was from an underground spring that would occasionally experience extreme pressure. There was a local belief that the waters of Bethesda had healing powers.
We do not know whether the hope of healing in the pool was real or it may have been a legend, but remember God can do things in unexpected ways and the Bible records many such unusual healings.
Everyone lying near the pool believed in the healing and they were lying there waiting for their turn. So when Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” the man replied, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” He was complaining that it is always the stronger ones who reach the water first. There is no one to help me. He was blaming others for his condition.
2. Take responsibility.
If you want to live above your circumstances accept responsibility for your condition. It is always easy to blame other people for our problems. Remember he was in this condition because of his sins. Now he is blaming others for his condition. That has been man’s scapegoat from the beginning.
When God asked Adam why he disobeyed, Adam explained, “The woman you gave me persuaded me to eat.” When Moses asked his brother Aaron why he permitted the Israelites to worship a golden calf, Aaron said, “The people pressured me to do something since you were gone so long, Moses. They wanted gods like the Canaanites. I just threw their jewelry into the fire and out came the calf.” Aaron blamed the people, blamed Moses for taking so long, blamed the Canaanites, blamed even the fire! Aaron’s attitude was, don’t blame me, I’m not responsible. It is because of others.
How often do we hear people say things like, “I would have stopped drinking had my wife been good? I would have worked hard, but no one appreciates my effort. I would have got good marks, but my teacher doesn’t like me. I would have been a good Christian but my surrounding does not permit me.” We are very good at blaming others. Take responsibly for your actions.
Illustration: King William of Pottsdam once visited a prison in England. He wanted to hear their story and offer pardon. Every prisoner brought before him claimed to be innocent and pleaded for pardon except for one man who admitted his guilt. King William said to prison officer, “Get this guilty man out of the prison before he corrupts all these innocent men!” And the man was set free.
We have such a difficult time saying, “I’m responsible, I’m guilty.” We blame friends, family, environment, circumstances and everything except ourselves. Yet what the Lord wants is for us to accept responsibility for our own behavior, accept responsibility for our condition now.
Listen, our upbringing and environment obviously plays a part in what we are now, but instead of looking at how bad our situations are let us look at God who is willing to work through us provided we trust in him. Some of the world’s best people had terrible pasts, yet some of the most privileged people end up being complete failures.
You may have had a terrible childhood, not a supportive family, you may presently be a failure but if you can trust God he can give you a turnaround in your life provided you are willing and take responsibility for your condition. Maybe it’s time to quit blaming others who have abused you or not helped you in some way or the other. Take responsibility for your condition and trust God for a turnaround in your circumstances.
John 5:8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” This man was paralyzed for 38 long years. For 38 years he never got up, he never stretched his hands or feet but was in the same condition. Now Jesus is telling him, “Stretch your hands and pick up the mat, then stretch your feet and walk.”
3. Stretch beyond your ability.
Work Hard. Give you best attempt. If you want to live above your circumstances, stretch beyond your ability. This man has never stretched for 38 years, but he decided to do what he did not do for almost 4 decades.
John 5:9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. Jesus motivated the lame man to stretch beyond his capacity and it worked.
Sometimes God expects us to stretch by faith beyond our ability. This church that you see is a stretch beyond our ability. For Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was a dream, but he stretched beyond his ability and God fulfilled his dream. The deliverance of Israelites from Pharaoh’s rule was a dream, but when Moses was willing to stretch his faith the dream became a reality. Yes, when we stretch there are risks involved, there is faith involved, but you will never fail when God is on your side.
The disciples were fishing all night but caught nothing. Early morning Jesus went to them and asked them to cast their net on the other side. All night they were fishing but were unsuccessful to catch even a single fish. Now Jesus is prompting them to stretch. It was much beyond their experience and thinking but they ended up with a great catch.
Jesus frequently required a dedicated effort on the part of a person requesting healing. Not always, but often, He required a response of faith before He would heal.
Jesus said to the 10 lepers, “Go show yourself to the priests,” and as they went they were healed. He said to the man with a withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand.” When the man made the effort, his hand was healed. Jesus put clay on the eyes of a blind man & said, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam.” When he washed, he could see.
Jesus said to this man, “Pick up your mat & walk.” This was not a test of his faith in Jesus because the lame man didn’t know who Jesus was. John 5:13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Notice, this man never knew who healed him. It was his pure resolve to change, his determination to overcome combined with the power of Jesus that did the miracle.
It was a test of his resolve, and of his willingness to make an effort to help himself. Jesus asked the man to attempt the one thing that he hadn’t done for 38 years. When the man made the effort, he was healed at once.
Today, God is asking some of us to stretch out in faith. It may be your healing, a difficult job condition, family, or ministry. Take effort in faith.
Illustration: I know of a sister who suffered from hemiplegia for over a year. She was moving around in a wheelchair with the help of others without the ability to walk and talk. Deep within her she had faith and inspiration that one day she would be healed. Every day as she would move around in the wheelchair she would say hallelujah and pray in her mind. One day as she was maneuvering she felt God asking her to shout hallelujah and get up from the wheelchair. She said a big hallelujah and got up from her wheelchair and walked. God healed her completely. She became an overcomer.
You maybe praying for a situation for a long time, maybe all that you are doing is prayer, God is asking you to stretch beyond your ability.
Jesus didn’t make a big deal of it. He didn’t to draw attention to Himself. Jesus would often say, “Don’t tell anyone about this,” or He would slip away into the crowd.
John 5:14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” But Jesus came back to reveal himself to this man. Listen what Jesus said to him, “See, you are well again.” That means there had been a time in his life when he could walk. I wonder if there had been some disobedience in his younger years that had caused his lameness. Now, Jesus wanted him to have more than just a healthy body. Jesus wanted him to stop sinning so that he would not miss out on heaven. Even as God is pleased to give us success in this world, his priority for our live is eternity.
John 5:15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
4. Don’t Forget God.
Deuteronomy 8:11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God. Now that this man had a turnover in his life, now that he has become an overcomer, he is giving the credit to Jesus. He’s praising Jesus as the one responsible for his healing. When healing of some sort takes place in our lives, we ought to give God the glory.
Illustration: A woodpecker was pecking away at a huge tree. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the tree & split it from top to bottom. The woodpecker flew off in a flash. Minutes later he returned with several other woodpeckers. Pointing to the tree, he said proudly, “There it is. Look at what I did!”
How do we forget God?
a. By forgetting our past work of salvation. Deuteronomy 6:12
b. By believing the devil’s lies instead of God’s word. Jeremiah 13:25
c. By going after other lovers. Hosea 2:13
d. By forgetting God after receiving the blessing. Hosea 13:6
When things go right in life, we’re inclined to forget God’s blessings and take credit ourselves. We say things like, “I worked hard,” “I invested well,” “I take care of my body and so on. Give credit to Jesus for all our blessings.
Conclusion: 1 John 5:4-5 4…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Do you see how wonderful Jesus was to this man? Jesus gave him an absolute turnover. You too can be an overcomer through Jesus Christ. God is not limited by the economy or by the medical report. God is not limited by our education or our ability. God is only limited by what we believe. You can become all that God has created you to be. You can overcome and live above your circumstances or any disappointment from the past. No matter who is against you or who has betrayed you, God still has a great plan or your life. You can live above your circumstances. Amen!
A leap in faith can bring a change,
Responsibility will differ – may be hard to take.
So, in pain we feign an image
Which veils away our damage.
Faith indeed can suppress our shame,
A change from lame to fame
Which happens only after a leap in faith,
Believing in the Most-High who never fails.
– by Temi COTEK
Everyone born of God overcomes the world. I am an overcomer!