I have difficulty living Philippians 4:11 …
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am (NASB1995).
The Apostle Paul says he has learned how to be content in any circumstances in which he finds himself.
Let’s consider the situations in which Paul found himself. As he writes …
In far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:23-26).
HHHHMMMHHM … I find myself feeling discontented by just reading about Paul’s ability to be content in trials.
Especially when I compare my list of what makes me discontented – a computer not turning on properly, a refrigerator at home going kaput, a minor disagreement with my wife, it’s too hot in the room in which I’m now writing this Interruption, and I will probably wait in a line to go to Skyline Chili for lunch.
What’s your list of anxiety and discontent?
The solution to finding contentment can be found in comparing two words in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am.”
The first word, “want” in the Greek of the New Testament can also be translated “hysteria.” Paul says that he doesn’t speak or act hysterically. How do we act, and what do we say when things go wrong in our lives?
The second word, “content” in the Greek can be translated as “God-sufficient” or depending upon God.
Let’s learn to be God-sufficient and tone down the hysterics. How?
First, keep your foundation of prayer, Bible reading, fellowship, and discipling ongoing and secure.
Second, admit your feelings of inadequacy in confession to God and others.
Third, watch what you say. If you speak in anger or frustration, your hysterics take root to become your personality.
Let’s try contentment this week!
As the trials of Paul’s list demonstrate, there isn’t a situation in which we can’t find contentment. Because our contentment doesn’t come from our experiences in this life but from our relationship with God.
Know God, know peace!