The subject of today’s blog is one that is so relevant to 2020. How do you find contentment with all the upheaval of 2020- amidst Covid-19 raging throughout the world, devastating storms, hurricanes, flooding, fires and political turmoil reflecting hatred and animosity within our society? In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul says he has been in all types of situations and has found contentment only in Jesus. What about you? Paul begins this passage by consoling his Philippian friends who had been unable to send money to meet his needs. He says it is okay as God has this.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
What had Paul learned about contentment? CHRIST is the source of his contentment and strength. He had found that Christ was his all in all. He knew that Christ’s grace was sufficient in 2 Corinthians 12:9 ” “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” He knew about abiding in Christ in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” He knew about the indwelling Holy Spirit in Ephesians 3:16-17 “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”.He knew about the glorious might of Jesus inColossians 1:11 “being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;” What about you? Do you know, like Paul, of Christ’s sustaining and fulfilling power? Take a step back today and look at your world, problems and circumstances. With the grace, abiding, indwelling power of the glorious might of Jesus, can’t you get through anything? He promises His power and grace are sufficient!
In today’s passage Paul exhorts believers to be wise, make the most of every opportunity to witness for Christ, be thoughtful, temperate with our drinking, filled with the Holy Spirit and always have an attitude of thankfulness. Does that describe you?
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.16Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:15-20
Do you look for opportunities to tell others about Jesus? Are you prone to overindulgence or letting addictions control your actions? Or do you rejoice with other Christians in singing, worship and studying together to bring praise and honor to God. Are you thankful in all circumstances? The pressures of life pile upon us each day, and it is how we handle those pressures that counts. Do you turn to God for help, assurance or courage? Or do you try to go it alone with an ‘I can do it attitude’? Dependence upon God is not weakness but an opportunity for His grace to abound even more. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Our weaknesses allow Him to show His strength through us. His grace, his undeserved favor, is enough to cover all situations.
Paul is serious about how we live our lives and the impact we have upon those around us for both believers and non- believers. It matters to God how we live and work in the world. It matters to Him as He desires the best for us which is only available through Christ. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, how I live my life for Him matters.
Let His grace abound in your life today as you strive to glorify Him in all you say and do.
Because I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am known by God. Paul made this statement several times in his letters: in 1 Corinthians 8:3 “But if anyone loves God, he is known byGod.” and in Galatians 4:9 “But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” Being known by God changes your life and as a believer you are freed from the sins that enslaved you and opened to have a full relationship with God. Jesus himself spoke of being known by God in his relationship with those who believed in Him. John 10:14-15a, 27 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Fatherknows meand I know the Father” and 27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them , and they follow me.” Jesus spoke of God knowing us, even to the minutest details, even to the number of hairs on our head and how valuable we are in His eyes. Luke 12:6-7 “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
So what does this mean for you? God knows you personally and values you. As a believer you also know God and hear and understand his voice. Have you ever been reading scripture and had a revelation about the meaning of a passage? Or have you been praying and feel a sense of peace come over you about what you are to do? These are examples of how God speaks to us, and how we hear and understand His voice. I am always amazed that God wants to know me and cares for me. Here are a few lines from Psalm 91 that speak of God’s care and tenderness towards me- the one He knows personally. 14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Being known by God leads to a life of peace and contentment in Him,