The Secret of Contentment

  • September 25, 2015
Friday 25

Philippians 4:10-13

After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul had much to learn about salvation and following Christ. From that moment on, the apostle shared with others what he was discovering. In his letter to the church at Philippi, he wrote about an important life lesson—the secret of being content.

What kind of life do you think brings contentment? You might assume it’s one with few troubles or great success. You may want good health, financial security, and a loving family. Paul’s life was not at all like this. He was in danger from both his own countrymen and the opposition (2 Corinthians 11:23-26). Sometimes the people listened when he spoke, but more often they were hostile to his message. He also had a “thorn in the flesh,” which God refused to remove (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). What’s more, Paul spent considerable time in prison, chained to a guard. Yet he boldly wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Phil. 4:12 NIV).

The secret he discovered was to live on the basis of his position in the Lord, not his circumstances. As God’s child, Paul knew he was spiritually rich—“blessed . . . with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3)—because he had a loving Father and the Holy Spirit to guide him.

Contentment in our media-driven age is hard to find and harder to keep. There’s always something newer, bigger, or better to buy and someone else who has what you want. When you feel unsatisfied, try basing your response on your position as a fellow heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17) rather than feelings.

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10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

23 Are they servants of Christ?--I speak as if insane--I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.

24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.

25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.

26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;

7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!

8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.

9 And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

1 Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; They have laid siege against us; With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek.

2 But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity."

3 Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.

4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth.

5 This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our citadels, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.

6 They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, The land of Nimrod at its entrances; And He will deliver us from the Assyrian When he attacks our land And when he tramples our territory.

7 Then the remnant of Jacob Will be among many peoples Like dew from the LORD, Like showers on vegetation Which do not wait for man Or delay for the sons of men.

8 The remnant of Jacob Will be among the nations, Among many peoples Like a lion among the beasts of the forest, Like a young lion among flocks of sheep, Which, if he passes through, Tramples down and tears, And there is none to rescue.

9 Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries, And all your enemies will be cut off.

10 It will be in that day," declares the LORD, That I will cut off your horses from among you And destroy your chariots.

11 I will also cut off the cities of your land And tear down all your fortifications.

12 I will cut off sorceries from your hand, And you will have fortune-tellers no more.

13 I will cut off your carved images And your sacred pillars from among you, So that you will no longer bow down To the work of your hands.

14 I will root out your Asherim from among you And destroy your cities.

15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath On the nations which have not obeyed."

1 Hear now what the LORD is saying, Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice.

2 Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, And you enduring foundations of the earth, Because the LORD has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute.

3 My people, what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.

4 Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam.

5 My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal, So that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD."

6 With what shall I come to the LORD And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves?

7 Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

9 The voice of the LORD will call to the city-- And it is sound wisdom to fear Your name: Hear, O tribe. Who has appointed its time?

10 Is there yet a man in the wicked house, Along with treasures of wickedness And a short measure that is cursed?

11 Can I justify wicked scales And a bag of deceptive weights?

12 For the rich men of the city are full of violence, Her residents speak lies, And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

13 So also I will make you sick, striking you down, Desolating you because of your sins.

14 You will eat, but you will not be satisfied, And your vileness will be in your midst. You will try to remove for safekeeping, But you will not preserve anything, And what you do preserve I will give to the sword.

15 You will sow but you will not reap. You will tread the olive but will not anoint yourself with oil; And the grapes, but you will not drink wine.

16 The statutes of Omri And all the works of the house of Ahab are observed; And in their devices you walk. Therefore I will give you up for destruction And your inhabitants for derision, And you will bear the reproach of My people."

1 Woe is me! For I am Like the fruit pickers, like the grape gatherers. There is not a cluster of grapes to eat, Or a first-ripe fig which I crave.

2 The godly person has perished from the land, And there is no upright person among men. All of them lie in wait for bloodshed; Each of them hunts the other with a net.

3 Concerning evil, both hands do it well. The prince asks, also the judge, for a bribe, And a great man speaks the desire of his soul; So they weave it together.

4 The best of them is like a briar, The most upright like a thorn hedge. The day when you post your watchmen, Your punishment will come. Then their confusion will occur.

5 Do not trust in a neighbor; Do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom Guard your lips.

6 For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man's enemies are the men of his own household.

7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.

8 Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.

9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, And I will see His righteousness.

10 Then my enemy will see, And shame will cover her who said to me, Where is the LORD your God?" My eyes will look on her; At that time she will be trampled down Like mire of the streets.

11 It will be a day for building your walls. On that day will your boundary be extended.

12 It will be a day when they will come to you From Assyria and the cities of Egypt, From Egypt even to the Euphrates, Even from sea to sea and mountain to mountain.

13 And the earth will become desolate because of her inhabitants, On account of the fruit of their deeds.

14 Shepherd Your people with Your scepter, The flock of Your possession Which dwells by itself in the woodland, In the midst of a fruitful field. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead As in the days of old.

15 As in the days when you came out from the land of Egypt, I will show you miracles."

16 Nations will see and be ashamed Of all their might. They will put their hand on their mouth, Their ears will be deaf.

17 They will lick the dust like a serpent, Like reptiles of the earth. They will come trembling out of their fortresses; To the LORD our God they will come in dread And they will be afraid before You.

18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.

19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.

20 You will give truth to Jacob And unchanging love to Abraham, Which You swore to our forefathers From the days of old.

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Publish Date June 23, 2017
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