Day 12

The Secret of Contentment

from the Philippians reading plan

Philippians 4:10-23, 1 Timothy 6:3-8, Proverbs 11:24-25, Acts 20:32-35

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Imagine you wrote a book about your life—let’s say it’s a spiritual memoir since those are my favorite and, obviously, I’ll want to read it. What would the title be? Would it be something dramatic and decisive, like “Tales of Triumph” or “Leap of Faith”? Or maybe it would follow more along the lines of “Carefully Calculated Efforts” or “Fully Vetted, Risk Averse, Partially Trusting Hop.” (I call dibs on that last one.)

I’ve never been much of a leaper myself. I’m actually more of an all-out leap avoider. I like to know where I’m going before I get there. If I sense God calling me to something, my ideal scenario would be to send someone ahead to see what I’m really in for. A faith scout, if you will. Someone to take a look at what’s on the other side and send a postcard back with a full report. Then, I could make a properly educated decision: is it worth the leap or not?

If you, too, are a partially-trusting hopper, I have good news! Philippians is essentially that postcard. Paul has gone to that most faithful, gospel-believing, Christ-trusting place where so many of us long to go, and he has sent back a letter to describe his panoramic view from the other side of the journey.

The end of Philippians is the close of what could, for all Paul knows, be his life’s last letter. He has witnessed firsthand the life-changing power of the gospel and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He has endured sacrifice, struggle, and suffering. And, as he says in verse 12, he knows how to have a little, and he knows how to have a lot. Sitting in prison at the potential end of it all, Paul delivers his final sentiments with profound joy and certainty:

In Christ I have all I need. And, friends, so do you.

At the end of a life of audacious faith, the great apostle has two simple goals: to give glory to Christ, and to encourage his brothers and sisters in the gospel.

Tucked inside Paul’s beautiful litany of faith is the very verse we Christians like to use and misuse to talk ourselves out of those faith slumps we’ll likely write about in our book: “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Rather than tossing that single line out today and ending this study with a with a “Go get ‘em, Tiger” pat on the back, let’s follow Paul’s lead and zoom out a little. Read verses 10-14 again, focusing on the context of verse 13.

Notice: Christ’s strength in Paul produces something far richer than achievement; it produces contentment. Christ’s strength in me fuels something far more significant than my best efforts; it fuels my faith.

Like Paul, we will know what it is to have a little and what it is to have a lot. Like Paul, our story will include sacrifice, struggle, and suffering. And like him, we have been given profound joy and unending riches in the gospel and glory of Jesus Christ. The God who provided for Paul—and for the church at Philippi, as well as for generation after generation of believers who have come before us—also supplies all our needs “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

May His strength be our contentment. May His grace fuel our faith. And may the message of our story be simply this: 

In Christ I have all I need. And, friends, so do you.

Post Comments (65)

65 thoughts on "The Secret of Contentment"

  1. E Hong says:

    we may lose every thing like Paul and not have what may seem a “good life”, but a life with God is the best life you could ever have -ellie

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