Dale asked: "Friends are telling me that Christians can take authority over circumstances and change the outcome. Is that true?"
There’s a growing belief in various Christian circles that believers can exercise authority over circumstances to change their outcomes. The idea is that you can claim your destiny and speak your life’s circumstances into existence. You’re correct to question this kind of teaching. Can Christians take authority over circumstances and change the outcome?
The big-picture truth to keep in mind is that God alone is sovereign. He has the ultimate control over your circumstances. Sometimes, it’s within His will for you to experience hardships, even when you wish otherwise.
Here are four things to keep in mind:
The Sovereignty of God:
God’s sovereignty is a foundational concept in Christianity. Scripture clarifies that God reigns over the universe and governs all things. He “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11 ESV). This means that God has a plan and purpose for everything that happens, even when we don't understand it.
Embracing God's Will, Even in Hardships:
The Apostle Paul spoke of contentment in all situations, acknowledging that hardships are a part of the Christian journey (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV). James also encourages believers to consider trials as opportunities for growth (James 1:2-4 ESV).
These teachings suggest that we should not always seek to change our circumstances but learn to trust God in them. It's crucial to remember that God uses our trials to refine our faith, make us more like Jesus, and bring glory to His name.
The Right Response to Difficult Circumstances:
So, if we don't have authority over our circumstances, what is our response in times of hardship? The Bible instructs us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV).
Prayer is a powerful response in challenging situations. Instead of asserting control, we are to bring our concerns, worries, and fears to God, who cares for us (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV). This does not guarantee a change in circumstances, but it assures us of God’s peace and presence.
The Role of Faith and Submission:
Our faith in God should lead us to submit to His sovereign will. Jesus is our perfect example in this. In the Garden of Gethsemane, facing the cross, He prayed, “not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39 ESV). Jesus did not assert authority over His circumstances but submitted to God's plan, recognizing it was the best way to fulfill the divine purpose.
So, God holds sovereignty over all circumstances, and He has not turned that over to us. I encourage you to pray when you're facing a difficulty. It's entirely appropriate to ask God for relief and a change in your circumstances. But remember, He may say no. As believers, our call is not to control our circumstances but to trust and submit to God's will, even when it includes hardship. Through this, we grow in faith and resilience, becoming more like Jesus and demonstrating God's strength, grace, and goodness to a watching world.