Philippians 4: Always Content
It's the final post in our mini-series on Philippians! We've loved journeying through Paul's letter with you. Today, we're looking at what satisfies us and brings contentment, drawing back to the truth of Jesus and His everlasting peace. We love this one - have a gorgeous weekend! MP team x
“…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing, or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
(Philippians 4: 11-13)
I wonder how many of us can say we are always content in every situation?
If we are really honest, I expect we all find it’s a challenge at times. At the time of writing this letter to the Philippians, Paul is in prison, falsely accused, and possibly awaiting execution, and yet is still able to say boldly and confidently that he knows what contentment is in any circumstance!
All of us want to be content, often living in pursuit of something that we feel is going to make us happy. But once we have it, the feeling of contentment is often short-lived, and fleeting, and then we find ourselves in hot pursuit for the next thing that we are ‘sure is going to be answer!’ It’s easy to have our contentment stolen when we don’t get the exam grades we hoped for, when we don’t get into the university or college we planned on, when friendships are rocky, in the face of rejection, when circumstances are difficult, when we don’t feel comfortable with how we look, when that guy just isn’t interested…
Just recently, social media has been a hot topic in the news, reporting that it is more often than not the root cause of anxiety, loneliness, and distorted body image. Often a default setting when feeling low or vulnerable is to scroll on social media, using it as a mechanism to de-stress, or to fill our desire for contentment. It often ends in relentless comparison, competition or compromise of standards. Our individualistic culture often promoted by social media convinces us of things we need to be satisfied - the latest particular product, living a certain lifestyle - yet this is a relentlessly fruitless pursuit that will never satisfy!
So, what does it mean to be content?
It's all about the foundation. It’s ok to work hard for an opportunity, a job, grades. It’s ok to seek a godly partner. It’s ok to enjoy material comfort.
But these things cannot be the foundation of our contentment; they cannot define us.
Paul says that he ‘learned the secret of living in every situation’. It wasn’t an overnight thing and it probably didn’t come easy to him either! But the more he learned about God, the more he chose to walk in God’s way each day, then he began to discover the rich gift of inner peace.
Think of those wonderful moments of contentment when we have achieved a goal, when something has gone how we want … those are great treasured moments right? Wouldn’t it be great if we had that content always, regardless of circumstances or situations around us?
An inner sense of rest or peace comes when we know and trust that we have a most wonderful God who loves us, and is always committed to us, even with all our flaws and mistakes! It means putting God firmly at the centre of our lives in every circumstance and He promises to ‘never leave you or forsake you.’ (Hebrews 13:5)
'Don’t worry about anything but instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.’
Paul reminds us that we need to exercise contentment in times that are difficult AND times that are easy. Trust God when things are tough, and thank God when things are going well.
I encourage you to choose to trust in Jesus daily, with determination. Explore your Bible and see who Jesus is, what He said, and what He did. There are so many verses showing us how we are loved, how Jesus has the answers to our questions and situations, how He can equip us, and guide us. He's got our backs.
"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
Hailing from London, Jacqui wholeheartedly believes in the vision of More Precious and has been a key supporter for a few years. She is mother to Nadia and Sami, and adores being a new grandmother too. Jacqui loves great food, dinner parties with friends, travelling, the West Wing series, relaxing in the sun, and in her spare time is currently undertaking a RHS garden course.