Your circumstances may not be different, but you are

Braeden Howard

My year started with a financial crisis. The company I was working for closed my store on New Year's Day, leaving me without a full-time job. I have never lived an extravagant lifestyle, but it’s been increasingly difficult to pay my mortgage, my car payment, and my electricity bill since the store closed.

Finding a new job has been difficult. And while God has been faithful to provide for me through my side business in the show horse industry, I still wake up and face the disappointment of what seems like a never-ending job hunt.

The struggle I’m facing in my financial life is the same struggle many new Christians face in their spiritual lives: Scripture says one thing, but my circumstances seem to say something else.

I know I’m the daughter of a God with infinite resources, so why hasn’t He sent me a salaried job?

When you gave your life to Jesus, you became a brand new person. So why does it feel like your marriage is still struggling, your finances are still a mess, or your kids are still rebelling?

What do you do when the Bible says your life has changed but your circumstances haven’t?

Salvation Changes You

Becoming a Christian is life changing, literally.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are made new.”

But what about when you leave church on Sunday and go home to your everyday life — back to work and school, surrounded by family, friends, and coworkers? The same disagreements you had before following Jesus are still there.

The reality is that your circumstances may not have changed, but you have. In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul writes, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Those words were true for Paul, and they are true for you.

You have been changed, made new, and have a foundation to grow your faith. You won’t be the first person to experience salvation on Sunday and chaos on Monday. Many times, Jesus sent new believers back into their troubling circumstances to share the life change they experienced.

In John 4, Jesus stops at a well in Samaria on the way to Galilee. A Samaritan woman approached, and Jesus surprised her by telling her about everything she’d ever done. During their conversation, the woman was overcome with conviction, asked for forgiveness, and put her faith in Jesus.

If anyone had a reason to want to change her circumstances, it was this woman. Her promiscuous past had made her such an outcast, she was out getting water in the hottest part of the day to avoid being seen. But after talking with Jesus, the woman returned to her village and the results are amazing:

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers.” (John 4:39-41).

Like the woman at the well, we have the opportunity to bring the hope we have in Jesus to the messy situations in our lives.

As You Change, Your Circumstances Will, Too

Jesus doesn’t rescue us from our sins to make our lives perfect. He rescues us to give us eternal life and a relationship with Him.

The more we get to know Jesus, the more begin to think like He thinks and see as He sees. This change happens slowly over time as we commit to three simple things:

1. Spend time with Jesus.

Every morning when we wake up, we make a choice about how to start the day. Opening our Bibles and start off our day studying God’s Word sets our feet in the right direction, submitting our day to God and His purpose. By spending time with Jesus, we strengthen our ability to trust Him and see how He is working in our lives.

2. Surround yourself with other Christians.

Other Christians can encourage you through your struggles. Hearing how God helped others through their circumstances can teach you a lot about how to handle your own situation. Our stories are a testament to God’s faithfulness. What we learn in one season of life, God will often allow us to use to encourage someone else down the road (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

3. Pray.

As we ask for guidance, we humble ourselves to a higher authority, the authority of Jesus Christ, who ultimately holds all the answers. Pray with a friend or a mentor and on your own. Talking to Jesus and learning to hear His voice will strengthen your relationship and give you confidence in His promises (Hebrews 4:16)

Time with Jesus changes us. And as we change, our circumstances might start to change as well. But more importantly, our attitude to what’s happening around us changes.

Every time I take a step of obedience, I grow closer to Jesus and learn to trust Him more. I’m still searching for a job with a salary, but I’m confident that God is growing my trust in His ability to come through for me.

So whatever circumstance you’re walking back into day, remember that God is at work in you and around you (Philippians 2:12-13).  Your day might not look that different, but the person who crawled out of bed this morning is.

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