The Way of Experiencing Enduring Contentment!
Scripture Refererence Philippians 4 : 10-13
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Again the apostle speaks of rejoicing in the Lord, “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me”. Paul practices what he preaches! Some might rather choose to highlight the need as something negative and even use that as a reason to speak disparagingly of their faith. This is not uncommon, rather it is too often the default perspective when it comes to being in need.
Paul instead chooses to rejoice, not in spite of the need but in faith believing that God knows his need and that God will meet the need in His time and in His way. That truth is something all of us need to embrace. And here is the rub, God often times will use others to meet that need and thereby His redemptive plan is all inclusive – nothing and no one is wasted, all are useful in fulfilling God’s purposes!
God may choose to use a water laden stream or ravens to water and to feed his servant, 1 Kings 17:2-6, or God may also choose to use an impoverished widow on the verge of starving to death to provide for not only his servant but also for her family because of her great faith, 17:7-16! Never determine in your own mind what God can and cannot do! Rather choose to believe that God will make a way and therefore choose to rejoice in the Lord!
Paul goes on to say that he is not claiming to be in need. Now before we get all prosperity doctrine on this text we need to understand what Paul means when he says that he is not in need. The explanation is found in the verses that follow, 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Here then is the interpretation of what Paul means when he speaks about the issue of need.
Can a person be in want and yet be content? Yes! How? Because “The Lord is my shepherd and I lack nothing’, Psalm 23:1! Learning to be content in any circumstance is a matter of faith. The faithless sees only the problem, the faithful trusts in the Problem Solver! Paul’s contentment transcended having plenty or being in want! For Paul having all he needed or having nothing was inconsequential to his belief that God is always faithful! Not only that but Paul was never self-reliant, instead he was always God reliant! Paul understood the true source of his strength – Christ Jesus! 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” All things means all things! There is no can’t do in the Christian vocabulary when it comes to God’s provisions.
If Christ is your strength even when you are at your weakest, you are strong! Even when most impoverished, you are rich! Even when in want, you have everything you need, 2 Cor. 9:8!