Thursday, September 30, 2021

Contentment The Learned Virtue

 Thursday, September 30, 2021 Some material taken from Contentment The Learned Virtue

I don't say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

The Secret Of True Contentment

Paul, the apostle, said in Philippians 4:11: I don't say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Those are beautiful words, until you are the one in bad circumstances trying to mutter them in between desperate prayers for God to help you. It is easy to say we are content no matter what happens as long as nothing is happening. But then what do we do when the hard stuff hits? Where do we draw strength from? The strength we draw from will help us to be content no matter what is happening in our lives. 

Contentment is not happiness. Contentment does not mean everything is going our way. Contentment is the peace we feel when we accept that we have no control and we leave it in Jesus' hands. Contentment is trust because we know He is in control. Contentment is calm in the middle of the storm - the ability to rest in Him, no matter what is happening around us. 

Paul said in verse twelve that he had learned the secret, drawing upon the language of pagan religions of his time. They used the phrase, "Learned the secret," to gain entry into their religions, and religious organizations that promised salvation through secret knowledge and ritals. Why would Paul describe his Christian experience in the language of pagan religions? 

Verse 13 explains everything. This is the mystery into which Paul has been initiated – the secret he has learned: I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Paul gladly and eagerly gives away the secret, unlike the ones who are partaking in the pagan religions and keeping the secret knowledge and rituals. 

Paul is talking about Jesus. That is the secret of contentment. Jesus, through the presence of His Spirit, makes Paul strong. Christ and Christ alone gives Paul the strength to do all things, and the same is true for you and me. 

Not only does Jesus give us the strength to do what we need to do, He gives us the strength to endure what we need to endure. That is the true secret of contentment. Enduring what we have to endure is hard and can steal all the joy out of our hearts if we have the wrong attitude. The strength we draw from Jesus gives us everything we need – everything that brings contentment, and eveything that helps us endure. We can be wholly reliant upon Jesus for everything. 

Trust Him with your circumstances. Trust Him in the midst of the storm. Rest in Him and know that He is more than capable to handle our trials for us while we can find peace in His presence. 

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