Philippians 4: 11-13 (Amplified)
“Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”
Contentment means “a state of happiness or satisfaction”, so on the surface it seems as if Paul it contradicting himself. Why? Our happiness is based upon our circumstances. What Paul is speaking of here is a principal that is higher than man is capable of by himself.
That is the point.
As we read further in the passage it becomes clear as to HOW this is possible and it is not in our own strength. Paul says “in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret” and further on “I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.”
What does that mean?
Only in Christ is contentment possible! Our contentment comes from Christ and not from our circumstances. It is also a discipline that must be developed.
Living with a disability and in chronic pain 24/7, I have had to learn to be content regardless. It is not easy, but it is crucial because it allows me to take my eyes off of my own circumstances and focus them where they need to be – on Jesus. In doing this consistently, the fear and self-pity that have been my nemeses for my entire life, are kept bound and at bay and I can truly say that I am content.
Now that may sound impossible or even ridiculous, but I am living proof that it is possible. I am human still and have days where my focus slips and the tears flow. I only allow myself one day and then I re-focus. Why?
The enemy has a pit that is dark and deep. Self-pity and fear push you in and it takes a lot of work and a lot of strength to pull yourself out. Depression and hopelessness whisper incessantly and despair is the result. I have fallen into that pit enough to know its shadow outline on the path ahead and make corrections to avoid it altogether.
So, today, press in to Him. Refocus your gaze so that you see only Jesus and not your circumstances. In doing so, you will find contentment.