Conviction and contentment
Not that I speak from want, 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. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
Many of us are trying to fill a void of some kind in our lives. Unfortunately we try to fill that void with things that can't satisfy; possessions or money, relationships or pleasure. But we only end up wanting more, we end up feeling even more empty and depressed than when we started. All these things we try to fill our lives with are not necessarily bad things. The problem comes when they become the end goals and the reason for our being. We end up being discontent because those things were never meant to fulfill us. From the text, Paul spoke from experience and he described that he had been through the extremes: surplus and poverty. He knew how to withstand the dangers of both. This was his secret; reliance on Christ, a reliance gained through his Christian experience. Greek and Roman religions had secret initiation rites. Some religions and philosophies prided themselves on secret knowledge. Paul had a different kind of secret. Stoics relied on personal will to gain contentment. Paul did not claim such personal inner strength. His strength came from Jesus living in him. Paul was in Christ and thus content no matter what his circumstances. The only place that we can really find true fulfillment and contentment is in Christ. True contentment is not something that we find in things, people or circumstances. Paul, as a follower of Christ found out that real contentment can only be discovered in ones convictions. The Bible calls us to allow our convictions, not our circumstances, to govern our sense of contentment. True, biblical contentment is having a conviction and faith to Christ. His power, purpose and provision are sufficient for every circumstance. We are to learn how to walk through all kinds of adversity believing in and experiencing Christ’s sufficiency. We have to choose to rely and trust on God’s good promises despite what may be going on in our lives. This was what Paul discovered in life. He has solved his economic problems not with new resources but with a new attitude. He is content no matter what his circumstances. Contentment from the Scripture is having inner spirit of freedom and discipline, the ability to conquer circumstances and situations rather than be conquered by them. Such an attitude is the exact opposite of worry and anxiety.
Noel De Guzman