Story: Paul (Philippians 4)
Today brings us to Philippians, one of three letters Paul wrote to the churches of the time in Ephesus (Ephesians), Colossae (Colossians) and Philippi. Their aim was to both assist and encourage the churches to continue their mission in spreading and teaching the Word of God. Filled with hope and contentment Paul speaks passionately to them, look at this:
“For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how-to live-in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Philippians 4:11-12
Paul calls us to be thankful for everything that we have, especially when we are at our lowest. Paul at the time of writing it had been beaten, outcasted, whipped and at the time of writing this, in prison! Paul endured an incredible amount of pain, yet in it all he was happy with what he had. He even uses his time in prison to help those around him and write the letters to the churches. He had found peace.
For many of us, being content is one of the hardest challenges we face is being happy with what we have or even where we are. Part of that is that we live in a world that is always trying to tell us what the secret to success is. What is the life we should be living? What is the best car I should have. One of the biggest things we always ask ourselves “Where have the good times gone.”
We so often find ourselves wanting things we never need, but even if we get them it never is enough. I still have many of the things I wanted so badly as a kid but now they sit collecting dust in a closet.
Good news for us, God showed Paul the secret to contentment,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13
Paul recognized that God had a plan for him, and he found joy in everything that he did or happened to him. He counted his time in jail in joy! He found joy in what God had called him to do. Prior to being jailed he was always moving, yet he used the time to write the letters. Sometimes even the hardest times in our lives can be used to make an impact.
Philippians is the most famous verses in the entire new testament, but we hear it so much we tend to forget what he was saying. Learning to be content is not something we can do on our own simply because we believe in Christ. It is when we fully bring into our lives to God who is working to strengthen us each and every day.
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” 2 Corinthians 2:9