Philippians 4:11-13 – “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.”
Philippians 4:13 is one of my most favorite verses in the Bible. I have found comfort in it when the tough times are upon me. I have looked to it when I am stressed and confused.
But the other day, I was reading it for my devotional reading and suddenly it took on a whole new meaning. I actually stopped and read the verses before it. And when I did, I was taken aback.
Paul is speaking here about contentment – being satisfied no matter what situation or time you find yourself in. Be satisfied. Be content.
And Paul doesn’t ask us to do this alone. He knows that he can’t. He needs Jesus to be able to make it through contentment.
Contentment is somewhat a mystery to our culture of constantly wanting more. We are urged from a young age to work harder, do more, be the best you can be. And that’s all well and good, until it becomes an obsession and we allow ourselves to make our “wanting to be more” take over everything. And believe me, it can happen.
So what is contentment? Here is the good,old Webster’s 1828 definition- “Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence.” Dictionary.com describes it this way “the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.” See the common word here – “satisfaction”.
But here’s the reminder – you can’t be satisfied without Jesus. What does Philippians 4:13 say? “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Doesn’t say “if Melissa tries real hard, she can do all things, including being content.” Nope, it says I need the strength of Jesus Christ to accomplish ALL things, including contentment.
We sometimes think that contentment is a state of mind or just an attitude adjustment. But the more I think on it, it seems like a job because it takes work. You can’t just get up one day and say, “well, I’m gonna be content today.” Nope. You gotta work at it every moment of every day – hence the reason we need the strength of Christ to get it done.
So, it’s Thanksgiving week and “Black Friday” is quickly approaching. One day for being thankful for what we have and the other to be greedy and demanding what we probably don’t need. A bit of a contradiction if you ask me.
Are you going to work at contentment this week? Are you going to make it your goal to be satisfied this week?
I’m going to try. Now watch, the devil is going to have it out for me. I’m going to need the full armor of God to make it through. But know what? I won’t be doing it on my own. I will have the strength of Jesus in my corner. Thank the Lord Almighty!