“What Can You Do in Your Current Set of Circumstances?”
By: Mark Johnson
When the apostle Paul wrote the book of Colossians (as well as Ephesians, Philippians & Philemon),
he was in prison for preaching the gospel (Colossians 4:3, 18). He could have easily complained about his
circumstances – that life wasn’t fair, and that God had forsaken him, but he didn’t. Instead we see him
writing encouraging letters to churches, which eventually became books of the Bible!
Notice that Paul didn’t focus on what he couldn’t do given his current set of circumstances, but rather
what he could do. He couldn’t go preach the gospel to huge crowds, but he could write books of the
Bible! Of course, at the time, he didn’t know his letters (epistles) would eventually become books of the
Bible. No doubt these letters written while Paul was in difficult circumstances has impacted far more
lives than his preaching would have had he not been in prison!
What is your current set of circumstances? What positive thing can you do in your circumstances?
Ask God that question and listen. Don’t focus on what you can’t do in your circumstances, but rather
what you can do and then do that!
One of the reasons Paul was able to accomplish great things in spite of difficult circumstances is because
he was a thankful person and regularly expressed thanks to God regardless of his circumstances. This
opened the door for him to be optimistic and see opportunities in every circumstance.
Six times in Colossians Paul offers God thanks and/or exhorts us to be thankful and offer God thanks.
“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, …” (Col. 1:3)
“… be thankful.” (Col. 3:15; see also 1:12; 2:7; 3:17; 4:2)
Perhaps God will be more likely to change our circumstances when we first learn to give God thanks in
our circumstances. 1Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus for you.” Perhaps God will be more likely to change our circumstances when we first learn
to do what positive we can in our current set of circumstances.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Are you doing what
you can, with what you have, where you are?