Scripture: Philippians 4:10-12
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. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 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.
Insights: Before we move into the portions of the text on which I really want to focus, let me mention the theme of the book again. In verse ten Paul tells these believers in Philippi one more time to have joy. Notice with me, Paul wrote, “I rejoiced in the Lord.” Paul found their assistance a cause for joyous celebration in the Lord. I am going to make this next point from the opposite side from Paul’s. Paul wrote that he had learned to be content whether he was in poverty or prosperity. I contend that the lost world, which is consumed with either poverty or prosperity, is incapable of experiencing contentment. Let me give a couple of definitions to support my conclusion. The Holmon Bible Dictionary defines contentment as the “Internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances.” The Easton Bible Dictionary defines contentment as “A state of mind in which one’s desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be. It arises from the inward disposition, and is the offspring of humility, and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude of benignity of divine providence.” Both of these definitions point to the internal satisfaction or disposition. I state now this internal source which causes contentment is Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. It is for this reason that the lost world, those who have not received the free gift of eternal life in Jesus, cannot know contentment. Humanities depraved nature fixates on things. If one is poor enough all they can think about is from where their next meal is coming. Paul himself had been in such situations in his life, but because of Christ Jesus, Paul was content. Probably worse than poverty is prosperity, because these people think they have it all already. But if you were to ask them how much more do they need to be satisfied, they would always tell you a little bit more. There is no contentment in their wealth. Paul had also experience great prosperity and he remained content. It was because of the Lord Jesus who dwelt within Paul that he knew such contentment. The lost just don’t have that attribute.
- Have you entered into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ?
- Is your life characterized as one of contentment?
Prayer: Father, thank You for the contentment You give to me. Help my heart to continue to learn the joy of being content in You. Amen.