Who Knew You Could Learn This!
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” - Philippians 4:11
All of us are born with certain talents and abilities. What we do with these talents and abilities in life beyond that comes down to how hard we work at developing those gifts. I hear people, including myself, use the phrase “I am not gifted in that area” a lot when talking about various things.
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between what is a natural gifting and things that we can learn to do. In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul makes such a distinction in the area of contentment. We may believe that it is a gift to be content but Paul tells us that contentment is a learned trait. He makes the statement in this verse “for I have learned to be content.”
I am convinced that one of the greatest struggles that people endure is that of finding contentment. I know that because I too have struggled with that same issue at times. I have seen single people who do not believe that they will find contentment until they meet the right person. Many others believe that getting the right career or acquiring stuff may hold the secret to contentment. The truth is that none of this will ever make us content in and of itself.
How could Paul learn to be content? What was it that allowed him to be so relaxed and relieved of tension? The answer is found in verse twelve and thirteen of the same chapter of Philippians.
“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, who gives me strength.”
Paul said that he had learned the “secret of living in every situation” and that secret is that “I can do all things through Christ.” In other words, Paul was convinced that Christ was in the midst of his everyday life and in every circumstance of life pouring His power into Paul. Paul learned that Jesus was not only more than sufficient to meet all of life’s challenges but also that through trust in Christ he himself could learn to be content.
What do we need to do next to learn this same level of contentment? First, we must place our focus and our hope solely on Jesus. In doing so, we also must let go of everything that is keeping us from totally trusting Christ with our everyday lives. I love how Brian Dodd explains this process when stated:
“You cannot ever take hold of what God has for you until you let go of what you want to hold onto.”
I pray that those of you today that are so stressed and in need of contentment will allow the truth of Philippians 4:11-13 to minister to your heart today and enable you to find God’s contentment for your life.