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Secret of contentment

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength... And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:11-13, 19

From the text, Paul has come to know such a dependence on God that he does not want any circumstances to threaten that dependence. He believes that God will work his will through whatever circumstances Paul finds himself in. This is the attitude of a person whose mind is in Christ. Paul understands that contentment, like joy, does not come from outward circumstances. Contentment can be realized even when in need or missed when having plenty. Paul learned the secret of being content (Philippians 4:12). It is something that he learned and grew into because of how God has been working in his life. He was initiated in this life. Through good times and bad, Paul has gone through a process of learning what it means to have real contentment and real joy. Contentment is learned through experience. Circumstances are the arena where we experience spiritual growth. Because he has learned how to walk with Christ, the sufficient one, he now has a different perspective regarding material things. What matters to him is his relationship with God and fellow believers. And so he can say, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). The source of joy and contentment is Jesus Christ, and not in what mankind can or cannot do for him. The indwelling presence of Christ is what will enable us to accomplish all that God wanted for us through the strength his presence provides. A Christian’s victory comes from a conscious dependence on the Lord and his power, and that is easier understood when times get difficult. One mark of maturity in Christ is that the mature knows how to depend on the Lord in every situation of life, not only in those for which they assume they need help.


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