Tuesday October 19, 2004
Contentment in All Circumstances
Some lessons in Scripture are completed right away. For example, once we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, our salvation is accomplished. Though we may need assurance occasionally, the issue is settled for all time. At other times, a lesson has to be learned over and over. Just when we think we have it down, something comes along to test our understanding. One of those lessons involves being content in all circumstances. To experience contentment is to be free from worry and frustration about unfulfilled desires in our life.
When we look closely at Paul's words in Philippians, we recognize two important principles. First, contentment is not governed by circumstances. If it were, we would have big problems. We cannot flip a switch and make everything right at our workplace, in our home, among our children, or in situations which we cannot control. But most people are discontent because they do not understand this principle. Paul's secret can also be ours: "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
The second principle is that our inner self, or attitude, is what regulates contentment. Paul did not have a "roller coaster faith" that went up and down; instead, he had a calm confidence that nobody could steal something he possessed on the inside - his relationship with God was his source of satisfaction. We all experience anxiety, but when we respond with faith and prayerfully cast cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7) our sense of contentment cannot be stolen.
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