Over the last two months in our blogs, we have been looking at Paul’s very important writings to the church of Philippi during the first century. Last week we were considering this theme of contentment and saw how Paul had “learned” contentment. Remember Paul wrote, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4: 12, 13 NKJV). Today we want to consider Paul’s secret to contentment that is clearly stated in verse 13 when he shares, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me”. Paul’s ultimate secret to contentment was found in his profound trust and confidence in Jesus Christ. This verse, which is sometimes quoted out of context, is really referring to Paul’s contentment in the face of whatever circumstances he was dealing with in his life. This verse is not teaching us that we could defy gravity and fly without an airplane. Paul was content on surviving on little or surviving on much because he knew that Jesus Christ was with him. Paul could face every financial situation and physical difficulty and still maintain a positive and victorious attitude towards difficult circumstances because he saw those circumstances as from the hand of God.
Paul made it crystal clear that he was not depending on himself to figure out the best course of action or the best way to get ahead. Millions of people across America in the coming month or so will be looking for ways to keep their enhanced unemployment in place rather than to return to their jobs for less pay. It will be very difficult for many to go back to their former employment making far less money than they are making currently on unemployment. I don’t know whose idea this was from the beginning, but I thought from the start that it seemed profoundly foolish to pay people more not to work then they were making working. Many will go back to work because they have to and will be very discontent because they were making so much more on unemployment. But Paul very clearly found the source of his contentment to be in his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Because Paul saw the Lord Jesus Christ as the source of his contentment, he was not a victim of his circumstances, but rather a victor over his circumstance. Many times great men, politicians, presidents, and kings love to boast about themselves. But Paul’s boasting was purely about the Lord Jesus Christ because he found Him to be the source to sustain him in his greatest of difficulties and to empower him to continue to live a victorious Christian life.
Paul was very much like a thermostat and not like the temperature. Instead of having spiritual ups and downs as the circumstances changed, Paul continued steadily serving the Lord and surrendering his life to Jesus on a daily basis as he viewed everything as an opportunity to represent Christ. This was certainly true in his ministry in Philippi in Acts 16, then also as he continued to write this epistle from a Roman prison. That is a great example for us to follow in the midst of mounting difficulties in our world. Many are dealing with very difficult circumstances right now, so it is very important for us to find our contentment in the Lord Jesus Christ. This verse Philippians 4:13 is one of my life verses. I claimed this as I walked through the last two years of my educational experience at Philadelphia Biblical University. God showed up in a big way to help me excel academically more than I had ever done before. When we truly turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, He can do way beyond anything we can imagine or think. I hope that you will find your contentment in Jesus Christ and He will help you deal with whatever circumstances or situations you might be dealing with today. All praise to our great Savior who leads us in the way He sees fit.
All for God’s glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo