Today’s scripture reading:
How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, 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,d who gives me strength.
After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul had much to learn about salvation and following Christ. From that moment on, the apostle shared with others what he was discovering. In his letter to the church at Philippi, he wrote about an important life lesson—the secret of being content.
What kind of life do you think brings contentment? You might assume it’s one with few troubles or great success. You may want good health, financial security, and a loving family. Paul’s life was not at all like this. He was in danger from both his own countrymen and the opposition (2 Corinthians 11:23-26). Sometimes the people listened when he spoke, but more often they were hostile to his message. He also had a “thorn in the flesh,” which God refused to remove (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). What’s more, Paul spent considerable time in prison, chained to a guard. Yet he boldly wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Phil. 4:12 NIV).
The secret he discovered was to live on the basis of his position in the Lord, not his circumstances. As God’s child, Paul knew he was spiritually rich—“blessed . . . with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3)—because he had a loving Father and the Holy Spirit to guide him.
Contentment in our media-driven age is hard to find and harder to keep. There’s always something newer, bigger, or better to buy and someone else who has what you want. When you feel unsatisfied, try basing your response on your position as a fellow heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17) rather than feelings.