Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:10-13
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” (Philippians 4:11,12)
Like most people, I struggle with being content. Contentment means that we are satisfied with what we have and it means that we accept whatever circumstances we are in. It is hard to be satisfied with what we have. We are constantly bombarded with the marketing industry that tries to convince us that we need more, bigger and better things. We see what others have and become discontent with what we have. This can be true of our possessions, occupations, and even spouses. Being discontent with these things can lead to disastrous consequences. I have seen longtime marriages destroyed, because one spouse is discontent with the other. People have cheated, stolen and abused others to get what they feel they deserve because of their discontentment.
Of course, we can’t overlook the impact of social media on us. People often present the perfect picture of their situations on their posts. We wish we could dress our children the way some of our social media friends dress their children. We wish we could have the houses, boats, cars, clothing and situations that we see portrayed on the posts of others. I am sure that this is a huge struggle for teenagers who are struggling to find their identity.
Paul was in prison when he wrote these words. He was able to be content there because he knew that God sovereignly had allowed him to be placed in prison for a purpose. He knew that God had a plan to use him while in prison. He was not bitter, disappointed, frustrated, or even unhappy. Instead he was rejoicing! He had learned to be content in whatever situation he was in — “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (v. 12).
How could this be the case? Well, let’s look at what he had been writing to the Philippians — “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (vs. 6,7). Paul was experiencing the peace of God. He found contentment in His Savior. His contentment was not dependent upon his circumstances, but upon his relationship with Jesus. Jesus was all he needed!
We will look in more detail into this passage tomorrow. But let’s be honest about ourselves today. Can we say what Paul wrote in these verses? Can we be content in any and every circumstance? It is a struggle for me, but I know that finding God’s peace is the foundation for contentment. His peace will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. He alone can offer true contentment, for everything else is temporary and fickle.
Lord Jesus, enable me to find my contentment in You. Forgive me when I become dissatisfied and discontent with what I have and with the situation I am in. I know that You are the God of providence and that You will take care of me. Thank You, Jesus, for Your peace which enables me to find contentment in whatever situation I find myself.
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