This week we will complete our study of Philippians. Chapter 4 is a book of rejoicing. The key verse is verse 4.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
Today Paul gives us a great lesson on contentment.
6. Paul’s contentment (10-14)
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
Christians are to be content in every area of their lives. Paul is writing this letter from jail. Paul led a hard life as he testifies to in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
After all this he states in Philippians, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Have we learned to be content? Personally, and through my own observation, I do not believe the body of Christ is content. We are striving for the next, best, greatest thing. We want the better job, better car, better home, or better life in general. No pain, no heartaches.
He then explains to the Philippians why he is content. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” His total reliance was on the Lord. He understood that the Lord Jesus Christ was in charge of his life. He submitted to God’s plan and went forward. This is what God wants us to do. Submit to His plan and follow His lead.
That’s our challenge.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001