Being content

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13]

Earlier in this chapter, the apostle Paul talks about having learned the secret to being content in any and every situation. He says that he knows how to be brought low and to abound; how to face hunger and how to face plenty. No matter what, Paul is content.

What a gift.

But what strikes me about this text is not the statement about being content with very little or nothing, but rather being content with plenty. It seems like a no-brainer that one would be content with plenty but it is the source of the contentment that is at issue. For some, being content is wrapped up in the stuff and people they have in their lives. Their contentment might be through their life situation: job, status, position. They may look around themselves and say “Ahhhh…this is good” But often times, people like that are like the rich fool who tears down his barns to build bigger ones (Luke 12:16-21). Contentment in this sense only looks inward and not to others but more importantly, it is not sustainable.

For Paul it is not about material possessions or health or status. It’s not about what this world says is important. For Paul, what is important is faith in Jesus. For…

it is through faith in Jesus that helps us see that we already have everything.

And…

it is through faith in Jesus that helps us see that everything we have is nothing with him.

The “all things” from these words of Paul includes contentment, for true contentment CAN NOT be found outside of faith in Jesus. That is why some of the poorest Christians in the world are some of the most joyful. Contentment is wrapped up in their faith in Jesus and their hope of the resurrection. They know that they already have everything they need and that they are nothing without Jesus.

I can be content in God for He strengthens me; gives me hope; provides for me and loves me.

So remove your eyes from what you have and don’t have and focus on the cross. See a Savior that died and rose FOR YOU. Give thanks for the forgiveness that Jesus offers through that sacrifice. Cling to the promise of everlasting life. Bask in the love of God. Be content with this, for faith in Jesus is indeed everything you truly need.

May God open your eyes to see what Jesus has done for you. May the Holy Spirit create and strengthen faith within you. May true joy exude from the very fabric of your being. And, of course, may you be totally at peace; being content with your life.

Praise be God!

The Pastor -|—

Shut up and be at peace

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:6-7]

When I get anxious about something it is usually because I am worried about the outcome or worried about my performance in a certain situation as I face unknown and uncontrollable circumstances.  Sometimes it is a very busy schedule as I wonder how I will get everything done and/or will things get done well. At  times, I worry about expectations from others and myself.

And when I really get anxious, my chest begins to hurt. Sometimes this pain causes more anxiety, but generally I consider this chest pain (heartburn) a gift from God. It’s a little alarm system that God has equipped me with to remind me to calm down, shut up and pray. And with Lent coming up, I anticipate that alarm going off (as it usually does) so hopefully I am paying attention to what I am writing now.

Oh God, I believe, help my unbelief.

The apostle Paul tells the church in Philippi not to worry about anything but rather tell God about it and then trust that everything is under control. This does not mean you become lazy but rather trust that you are not alone. Trust that God will give you what you need and the strength to do it. But most of all, let that trust be a source of peace for you; something that will guard your mind and heart from Satan’s attacks.

A lot of worry and anxiousness stems from a mistrust of God (unless you are dealing with a medical anxiety disorder of some sort). When you get anxious and worry you are saying that God is not big enough or strong enough to handle the situation.

REALLY? Not big enough or strong enough?

Seems silly to think such a thing but this is really what is going on; seeing a problem and thinking it is bigger than it really is or thinking that nothing can help you. Instead, we need to remember that we have a bigger God. This reminds me of something I have seen passed around on social media; a quote that says:

Don’t tell God how big your problems are but tell your problems how big your God is.

I like that except that you should tell God how big those problems are and as you do so remember how big your God is and be at peace. Never believe problems are bigger or stronger than God. And as you are at peace, laugh at Satan and say, “nice try”.

When you become anxious; shut up and listen; shut up and remember; shut up and be at peace. God has overcome this world through Jesus Christ and thus, through faith in Jesus Christ, victory is yours.

So be at peace as you face this day head on with the knowledge that you have a big God going with you.

May God be praised in all you say and do. And may people see your faith being lived out as you face everyday problems and challenges.

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—