Letters from Prison - Philippians 4:10-13
How would you like to be a truly contented person? People can get new stuff and you’re fine. Friends can get married and you’re fine. Teammates can win awards and you’re fine. Your ex can get the kids, you’re fine. Co-workers get the promotion and you’re fine. Others make more money, you’re fine. Marital partners get along great, you’re fine. Contentment – at ease and at peace.
Contentment is being at peace with the unchangeable circumstances, choices, and mistakes of my life (Jeffress, Solomon…27). Contentment isn’t just sitting back and saying “Well, God’s going to do what God is going to do. So I’ll just hang back and let it all happen.” I don’t think that is what Paul is saying.
Contentment is a “Steady confidence that God is at work while you’re being faithful to do what he’s called you to do or things you’re having to do due to current life circumstances or events.”
Even as he sat in prison, God was stirring the hearts of Christians hundreds of miles away to minister to Paul’s needs. God can do that.
Discontent is the result of negative thinking about yourself, about your suffering, about what you don’t have, what’s not going right, what you don’t like, and it’s a monster that if well feed gets very large.
Consumer debt? The rate at which we move? Divorce rates? Violent protesting? Legal cases? Seventy-billion spent on lottery tickets in a single year? It’s not hard to diagnose our discontent. So the grass is always greener in the next lawn. The traffic is always faster in the next lane. People are always happier in the next state and life is always better with the next person.
Contentment. How can I get you there? How can we raise your contentment level a little? FOUR WORDS…
1. The first word is gratitude.
2. The second key word is responsibility.
3. There’s a third word that comes to mind in this text – and it’s the word, acceptance: Not only should you appreciate whatever you have; And apply whatever you learn. Thirdly, accept wherever you are.
4. Fourthly, a final key word - dependence. Appreciate whatever you have; Apply whatever you learn. Accept wherever you are; And now finally, Abandon to Christ whatever you do.