Grace For The Journey
Many people want to be “content” in all circumstances, but they don’t know how. Some people don’t even believe it’s possible. If you think about it, there are probably people in your life who seem to be on a never-ending search for contentment. Do you know someone who is always looking for more or searching for inner peace?
This is a popular concept today, but none of the self-help trends really help us to get there. As you read Paul’s letter to the Church of Philippi, it is clear he learned the secret of true contentment, and like Paul, we too can have true contentment and joy in all circumstances.
In today’s blog I am focusing on Philippians 4:10-23. In these verses we will discover two power, eternal truths:
1) The Difference Between Contentment and Complacency
First, don’t make the mistake of confusing contentment with complacency. Someone who is complacent is satisfied but often lacks awareness.
Contentment is not complacency,
Nor is it a false peace
Based on ignorance.
Contentment is not
Escape from the battle,
But rather an abiding
Peace and confidence
In the midst of the battle.
Contentment is awareness of what is happening and the ability to remain at peace no matter the circumstances.
The word “content” actually means “contained.” It is a description of the man whose resources are given to him so that he does not have to depend on substitutes from other sources.
This is what Paul means when he “learned to be content.”
He discovered through experience
That he has everything He needed
Because Christ lives within him.
That is what led him to write in Philippians 4:11-12,
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
How often does someone think “If I only had this, I would be content?” Far too often!
Ask anyone who has ever thought they would be content if they achieved some status or purchased a new item how long that feeling of contentment lasted, and they will tell you, “Not long enough.”
Paul, on the other hand, shares with us how he has the secret for being content no matter the circumstances.
It is important to note the following in the above verses, “Learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” It did not happen as soon as he became a Christian. It was something he learned over time, much like how Christians learn God is faithful as they experience His faithfulness repeatedly.
Because Paul had Christ within,
he had peace and contentment within.
2) In the conclusion of this letter, Paul identifies some of the reasons our faith in God leads to contentment.
The Providence of God
When we rest in the knowledge of God’s providence, we experience contentment.
God’s providence simply means
That God sees to it beforehand.
It is the working of God
In advance to arrange circumstances
And situations for the fulfilling of His purposes.”
Paul saw God’s hand in his ministry and the church of Philippi’s involvement in his life when he needed it the most.
By recognizing life is not a series of accidents;
It is a series of appointments,
We can experience heavenly contentment.
The Power of God
One of the most popular Bible verses appears in this section of Paul’s discussion of contentment. Paul essentially made this his motto . . . “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison. Think about that for a moment – while he was in prison, he was joyful and content. His life experiences taught him how Christ within gives him all he needs – including strength.
The most important part
Of the Christian’s life
Is the part that
Only God sees.
Unless we draw
On the deep resources
Of God by faith,
We fail against
The pressures of life.
We must learn to rely on the power of Christ rather than attempting to be self-sufficient.
The Promise of God
Finally, those who put their faith in Christ can find contentment through believing in His promises.
In this final send-off in Philippians 4:18-19, Paul discusses how the church of Philippi supported him and how God will meet their needs as well.
“I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
We could summarize these verses this way:
“God used you to meet my need, and God is going to meet your need. God used you to meet one need that I have, but my God will meet all your needs. You gave out of your poverty, but God will supply your needs out of His riches in glory.”
By trusting in God’s promises, God’s power, and God’s providence, you, too, can learn to be content whatever the circumstances. I pray you come to experience that during this Christmas season.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”