Have you ever gone to bed hungry? Thankfully, I do not answer “yes” to that question. But there are plenty of people in this world who do. Paul was probably not immune to that reality, yet his faith was strong.
Some of the most faithful people I’ve encountered are those in poverty. Their trust in God’s provision and the resulting joy the experience is infectious. It’s also humbling to realize how weak my own dependence on God is in comparison.
One hope for all God’s children is that we will find contentment in all circumstances. We may or may not live in luxury, having more money than we could ever spend. No matter our place in this world, we should most certainly want to find contentment. For me, that starts with being in God’s will. If I am where God wants me, my heart is content.
What contentment means will vary from person to person. I might have to use this topic for an interesting survey question. Do you think contentment can be found in God’s creation or in things like people, possessions, or money?
Being content — is it as complex as we try and make it? We place so many conditions on our own contentment, how can we ever expect to achieve it. Well, it would seem the most likely way to experience contentment would be to trust God.
Paul isn’t relying on his own power to be happy in whatever circumstance he finds himself in. Yet he learned how to be content with whatever he had. In verse 13 Paul says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” That verse gets taken out of context often. But it is still one of my favorite promises! Paul knew how to tap into true contentment.
When we see the context in which Paul shares this truth with us, we can be even more sure of the power behind these words. Paul’s own life experiences are testimony to having and relying on the power of Jesus in all things. The difference we often miss in the “relying” part. What do you rely on Jesus for in your life right now?
Don’t feel bad if your list isn’t that long. We’re human and the tendency is always to rely on our own power. Until we can’t. Until we fail. Then we’re all about crying out for Jesus to rescue us. How much better would it be if we just skipped all the drama and just relied on Jesus for our contentment from here on.
It sounds like the easy, no-brainer thing to do. While it may be hard to break some old habits of thinking we’re the ones in control, giving in to God’s wisdom seems like the “wise” thing to do.
Being a believer is not “popular” these days, and that can be a deal breaker for some people. They would rather be running around with the “in” crowd, the ones who promote everyone no matter what because no behavior is out of bounds. Choosing to stand firm on the truth of scripture and God’s leading are choices the Holy Spirit is placing inside us. We can be unstoppable when we remember where our strength comes from.
If you are feeling weak and discontented, turn to Jesus. Let him know how you feel. Remember the promise in Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Let’s pray … Lord, I trust you are leading me and that your plan for me is greater than I could possibly imagine. Thank you for the contentment you offer when we trust in you. Use me to show others this great benefit of tapping into your strength. You are there with me in the good times and the bad. Help me to stay the course, to be your servant helping others. Let me be your hands and feet to serve those whom you love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.