Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Finding Contentment in Difficult Circumstances

 Wednesday, November 11, 2020 Some material taken from Finding Contentment by Sam Nobles

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  Philippians 4:12

Finding Contentment in Difficult Circumstances

Paul taught us much about contentment, but it wasn’t always easy for him. He had to learn the secret of being content in all circumstances. It is easier to be content when everything is going good - the bank account is full, as is the pantry and the bills are all paid. As with Paul, learning contentment does not come quickly or easily, but there was growth and progress for him, and the same can be true for us today.

Difficult times will come in life and we cannot escape it, but we can choose how we walk through it. What we stare at is what our focus will be. When our circumstances are difficult, and they don’t seem to be changing, we must focus on the Lord. It does us no good and changes nothing for us to be staring at the hard things in our lives that we are powerless to change. We can keep them from having power over us by looking to the Lord when our worlds crumble around us. "Learning contentment does not mean that you are indifferent to your circumstances; rather, it means that you are not controlled by your circumstances. Paul is not saying, “I don’t care whether I have an abundance or am in need”; rather, he is saying, “My joy does not depend on it.” If we line our problems up next to our Lord, they are nothing compared to Him. He is bigger than anything we face and more capable than we are to handle our circumstances. 

Finding Contentment Only Becomes Possible When I Realize It Is a Learned Behavior 
and Not A Product Of My Circumstances

Personally, I overwhelm and exhaust myself trying to figure out how to fix the problems I face. Contentment requires rejecting fear about our present circumstances by living wisely and trusting God for the future. Some things we can have control over and some things we cannot. If you have been making unwise choices and now must live with consequences, I will tell you that contentment will be hard to find, and only will be found in living for the Lord. If consequences weren’t miserable, no one would ever change. You cannot change the past, but you can control the choices you make today and every day going forward. Plan for tomorrow, work towards that plan today, and trust God with the results.

Sometimes the Lord allows us to sit in less than desirable circumstances for a purpose. It seems unfair, it feels horrible, and we don’t often even understand the reason for a long time. The purpose may be for you. He may be preparing you for something He has planned down the road, or He may be teaching you something. The purpose may be for someone else. He may want you right where you are because He is or intends to use you in someone else’s life for His glory. Maybe you are suffering consequences of someone else - a spouse or a child. In what seems like totally unfair circumstances it can be even harder to find contentment, but God does know everything about your life. He sees you and He has not abandoned you. We can take comfort in that and find contentment in being obedient to Him. 

Paul learned that the secret to contentment was understanding it had nothing to do with circumstances and everything to do with his perspective of Jesus. Paul connected the secret of contentment, not with how things were going in his life, but with the strength he received from Christ - I can do all things through him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:13 The same is true for us. No matter what the circumstances are in our lives, Christ is still all sufficient and in control. He will give us the strength to walk through difficult circumstances and we can learn to be content in Him in any circumstance. 

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