September 9, 2022
I HAVE A DIFFERENT NARRATIVE
And 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
When it comes to fixing our thoughts there is probably no better human example in the Bible than the apostle Paul. He started out life as Saul and was a violent leader against the early church. He had an encounter with the risen Christ, which transformed his life. Yet, he still had the memories of the people he had beaten, imprisoned, and even killed because of their faith in Christ.
His transformation included a call to preach the gospel to the Gentile world. Paul felt a particular calling to preach the gospel in Rome. He felt that if he could preach to the influential leaders there, he could open the gospel to a whole new part of the world. However, Paul’s life didn’t go as he imagined.
Paul made it to Rome, not as a missionary, but a prisoner. He was locked in an underground cell chained to a Roman guard 24/7.
Paul writes to the believers in Philippi about his situation. Imagine for a moment what you would write on an occasion like this. Would it read something like, “Dear brothers and sisters, I made it to Rome, but God let me down. I am stuck in a prison cell chained to a Roman guard. My life sucks. All your prayers failed, and I’ve given up on believing in God’s power. I’ve decided to quit preaching and forget about God. He obviously doesn’t care about me.”
If you live long enough, you will have times when life throws you a curve. When you feel like God has abandoned you. God has forgotten about you. He doesn’t care for you. Your mind will create a narrative that creates fear, worry, doubt, and unbelief. That video will run constantly in your mind until you believe it.
While we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control what happens in us. We can control the video narrative that runs in our minds. We can control what we focus our thoughts on. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we frame it—how we interpret our circumstances.
Instead of complaining and giving up, Paul said, “What happened to me has helped spread the gospel.” Paul chose to see the hand of God using his current circumstances as an opportunity to spread the gospel. Instead of looking at the Roman guard chained to him as a pain, he saw it as an opportunity. Every eight hours a new guard is chained to him. Instead of seeing himself as the prisoner he saw the guard as a captive audience in which to preach the gospel.
What circumstance in your life is not what you planned? Your marriage, or lack of marriage, did not turn out the way you planned. Your job, or lack of job, sucks. Your health is not what you hoped. The list could go on and on.
Instead of allowing Satan to plant his narrative in your mind, how about running with a new video story? Allow the Holy Spirit to help you change the interpretation of your circumstances. Renew your life by renewing your mind.
Holy Spirit please help me today to be renewed in my mind. Show me where I’ve accepted the wrong interpretation of my circumstances. Show me what You are doing and want to do in and through my life. Help me daily to have my mind renewed by You.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying based on today’s reading.