Monday, January 7, 2019

A Recipe for Contentment




“… for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” – Philippians 4:11

We often read this verse from Paul and consider Paul as having risen to a state of contentment we all hope to achieve.  Who doesn’t want to be content when we’re sick or healthy, wanting or fulfilled, insufficient or overflowing? 

But this verse could have been reworded to say, “God’s taken me through struggles to teach me to be content in whatever state I’m in”.  I dare saw myself and many others would not be so quick to wish for what Paul had if it were worded that way.

None of us want the struggles that God brings to our lives, or that our own behavior brings.  But in all things, in all ways, God is molding us into who He needs us to be.  His children are never forsaken. 

Sometimes the place you are in is so dark that you cannot see the shadow of His hand.  In those times, your faith grows as your heart yearns for Him to draw you closer.  And as He does show up in actions, in His word, in the words of others, our heart feels His love. 

Paul gave advice before expressing his contentment in this verse.  He said:
1.       Stand fast, don’t be moved (Verse 1).
2.       Unite yourself with others (Verse 2).
3.       Help others who are working His will (Verse 3).
4.       “Rejoice Always”, find the good in everything (Verse 4).
5.       Be gentle to everyone (Verse 5).
6.       Don’t be anxious, but pray about everything, and be thankful (Verse 6).

Following these six verse of advice, Paul expresses the outcome of this recipe of behavior.

“ and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Verse 7)

Is that not where contentment comes from?  Is it not from peace in our hearts and minds?

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