“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12, NIV84)
Are we really content? Are we ever content? I’d like to say that I am, but I find myself constantly wanting and needing. Paul says that he has “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” Now that is a secret I wouldn’t mind knowing. I need to learn to be content no matter what the situation. I know that most of us think about money, but I don’t think Paul is reducing this statement to just covering provisions. I think he truly means any and every situation. The situation could be money, relationships, hopes, dreams, health, fears, etc. I think Paul is telling us that he found the secret to a spirit of contentment. So what is the secret? God!
I know you’re surprised, but seriously, Paul is telling us that we become discontent when things aren’t happening the way we think they should. Note who the focus is on … us. If we see ourselves as the measure of what we think we want and need, then we can easily become discontent when we don’t have it. But if we place each and every situation in God’s hands and trust that He will work out every situation and circumstance to our good and His glory, then we can be content. We can be content because we have placed everything into His hands and not ours. We may not like the circumstance or situation we are in, but it is certainly more bearable if we know God’s hand is in it. Jesus promised His disciples, and you and me, that He would never forsake us but would always be with us.
May we live as those who know the secret of true contentment, and may we share the secret with everyone we can.