Life is so unpredictable. There are so many things which are out of our control. We cannot choose another person’s path. We cannot stop the drunk from getting behind the wheel of a car. We cannot heal every disease and keep our loved ones from dying. We can cast our votes, but our candidates still may not get elected. We can do nothing to prevent hurricanes and tornados from causing destruction. We have so little control over our lives.
There is not one of us who has not been affected by circumstance beyond our control. We acknowledge our lives have been changed because of something which was beyond our power and strength. Good and bad will come into our lives and much of the time we will have very little say on its arrival.
What we do have control over is how we respond to these situations. The real test of character comes when something we have no control over happens. At those times our character will be proved to be good or bad.
Character is an extension of our faith in God. When something bad happens in our lives and we don’t really trust in God we will seek to medicate our pain with drugs, alcohol, or sex. We will choose to do the wrong thing because we want the pain to go away, even if it is only for an instant.
When something bad happens and we respond in love to those around us, in prayer, praise, and service we allow God to work through that circumstance to strength who we are. Our character is developed as we live by faith through the circumstances of life. Part of faith, then, is choosing to obey God even when every instinct inside of you tells you to do the opposite. That is what we have control over.
“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1, 2; NLT).
Peter writes that it is our decision to stop sinning and chasing after the desires of this world. We can make that choice. Why is that possible? Because Jesus has already suffered for us and in our gratitude we become anxious to do His will; even if it means suffering ourselves because of that decision.
We need to stop worrying about the things in life we cannot control. Instead, it is time that we focused on the area we do have control over, our actions. Let’s choose to do the right thing.