My Journey to Joy

February 15, 2012

The Secret of Contentment

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 10:43 AM
Tags: , , ,

 I have read Philippians 4 many times in my life. I’ve always read it and wondered about the apostle Paul’s secret to contentment. This week I read this chapter again and saw things in a way I never have before.

Paul’s secret is actually quite provocative – the secret of living with contentment in every situation. Few of us ever scratch the surface of what contentment truly means, no matter how great our effort and intention.

How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:10-13

 I will confess – I don’t know how Paul could live in contentment with all he had been through! I read his words and think, that can’t be right, he was in prison! And surely I don’t need to learn to be content in this [insert your trial here] situation? Paul can’t possibly mean that. Oh, but he does.

Did you notice the verse at the end of the passage? On the heels of saying that he is content in any and every situation, Paul says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” I think this verse is often used too flippantly. Paul isn’t talking about achieving anything he sets his mind to. He is referring to surviving the worst of the worst with as much grace as living with plenty. Whoa.

My question for Paul has always been, “Well then, what is the secret to achieving contentment?” What I found this week is that he addresses this very question earlier in chapter four.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:4-9

 Let me break that down for my own sake (because I’m a list person):

 • Be full of joy •

Be considerate in all you do •

Don’t worry; pray •

Be thankful •

Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise •

Put into practice the things you have learned

If we do these things, Paul says, “The God of peace will be with you.” All these things lead to peace, and peace leads to contentment. This is revolutionary stuff! With achievable, albeit difficult, action steps. Paul’s secret steps to God’s peace and contentment.

Well, I need to be more like Paul. What about you?

http://portraitrachel365.blogspot.com/2011/02/secret-of-contentment.html

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1 Comment »

  1. Whew!! What a challenge and how neat to see all these verses put into perspective like this! I want the Peace of God and I want the promise that “I can do all things”, but I do not want the trials to get me to the place of prayer and trust that is required. Hmmmm. So much to contemplate and pray about. Thanks for sharing. ~Mom

    Comment by Sue Fleming — February 15, 2012 @ 10:55 AM | Reply


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