Philippians 4:12 (NKJV) I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.
In today’s Bible reading, the Apostle Paul says he has learned the secret of experiencing contentment in all circumstances, good or bad. Does it surprise you that he wrote this when he was in prison, unsure of his future? Many of us are imprisoned in our lives outside of the institution of prison! We are often discontent even when all is going well.
Consequently, we wonder how it’s possible to be truly content during our most difficult trials, especially when there’s no end in sight. So what is genuine contentment? Paul is speaking of a freedom from worry and frustration about everything in life; even unfulfilled desires. I hope I am making some sense to you?
It’s usually when we cannot control or change our situation that we feel discontentment. As long as our satisfaction depends on whether certain things actually work out, we will allow circumstances to rob us out of our potential peace. I’m not saying there’s some spiritual realm where you will never again experience anxiety or frustration. But what matters is how we respond when those feelings arise in us.
This is something that the Apostle had to learn. Paul endured amazing suffering, from shipwrecks and hunger to unjust imprisonment and beatings (2 Cor. 11:24-30). He even experienced countless situations that were uncertain, extraordinarily painful, and seemingly hopeless. But he finally discovered that contentment could not be dependent upon his circumstances; it was in the Lord!
How do you respond when circumstances are out of your control? Do you get angry? Do you try to escape? Does despair make you want to give up? Paul chose to give his anxieties to Jesus in exchange for peace that “surpasses all comprehension” (Phil. 4:7). That same peace is available to you today and for the rest of your life. Have a day filled with contentment no matter what happens around you !