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. I am not saying this because I am in need, for
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do all this
through him who gives me strength.
The secret of being content
On this Good Friday, I’m so extremely thankful for a Savior that would make the ultimate
sacrifice to give His life as a ransom for mine. I’m not sure if we’ll ever truly grasp the magnitude
of that day. In that moment, Jesus took on the burden of punishment for the sins of the world.
His sacrifice for our salvation is sufficient. There is no offer of sacrifice that I can give or need to
give to earn the love of the Father. “It is finished.” (John 19:30) In this, Jesus provided the only
solution to reconciliation. Jesus was, is, and always will be sufficient.
The apostle Paul’s writings and his life echo that truth of Christ’s sufficiency. Here in Philippians, Paul proclaims that truth once again. Philippians 4:13 is one of the most common quoted verses in the bible, often translated as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s such an encouragement to know that God will provide the strength needed to do whatever He’s called us to and endure whatever hardship we face. That strength may not come until the exact time that it’s needed, but He will provide it and it will be sufficient.
Paul lived in anticipation of Jesus’ return. He knew this place was not his home….that He was
an “ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:20) and that through suffering, Christ was glorified.
Paul states here in Philippians 4:11 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”.
He goes on to say in verse 12 “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every
situation”. Through an eternal mindset and understanding of obedience and suffering, Paul
learned to endure suffering and to be content no matter the circumstance…..because he knew
the reason and the result. Here is a man that was whipped with 39 lashes (5 different times),
beaten with rods (3 different times), pummeled with stones (1 time), shipwrecked (3 times),
among many other hardships. He had experienced the strength of Christ in those moments and
could testify to Jesus being glorified through his suffering. Through those moments, he learned
to be content. He knew the secret!
Contentment is not just being satisfied. It’s a result of acknowledging the sufficiency of Jesus,
responding in obedience to His call of surrender and sacrifice, and witnessing the glory of Christ
through suffering. That is the secret that Paul desired for the Church at Philippi to grasp.
Now you know the secret too. Are you content?