Bible Basics Explained | Anxiety Part 2

Day 5 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Day 5 | Philippians 4:10-13 | The Secret of Contentment

This devotional works best as an audio experience. Hit the play button now, and read along if you like. All verses quoted from the NIV.

Hello Through the Word! Kris Langham with you again as we finish our series on anxiety. We have one more study, and one more fantastic passage of scripture to read. We’re in Philippians 4, starting at verse 10. This one is one of my all-time favorites: the secret of contentment. Yup. You heard me right, these are God’s directions to be content.

It’s a beautiful word. It means satisfied. At peace with life and settled. It is a glorious feeling and a rare jewel in this world. And yet it’s a feeling that the anxious heart can never quite enjoy. When anxiety rules over your heart - even when you have everything you want - there’s always that worry that you might lose it, and your contentment sort of slips out the back.

God desires something better for us. For you.

Here in Philippians 4, moving forward from verse 10 is the thank you part of the letter. Paul owes the Philippian people some gratitude. They were Paul’s mission support team, and they came through for Paul again and again - with money, prayer, letters, and helpers. Now Paul is careful to point out that he’s not just manipulating them for more money. This is genuine gratitude. Verse 11:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 4:11-12).

Did you catch that? The secret of being content. No matter what, content. And he wasn’t zapped with it by God - he learned it. Learned it from experience. Paul knew 'need' and he knew 'plenty'. He had to actually go through it to learn it.

Corrie Ten Boom, who endured a German concentration camp for hiding Jews, said this: “You’ll never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”

From my observations, it seems that contentment is harder to find for those who have plenty. But no matter. Paul says the secret works either way. And what’s the secret? Well, keep reading. It’s right here. Verse 13:

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

I’ll read it again:

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Now Paul is not saying that I can do anything I want because I have magical God-powers. That’s a bad interpretation. He’s talking about being content in hard times. He’s saying, "I can do this – I can persevere, I can stand firm and keep my joy and hold onto God’s peace and be anxious for nothing – I can do all this through Him because He gives me strength."

Think about that. Strength is how you move. How you bear burdens and carry your cross. How you press on to lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold of you. When life hits hard, He strengthens me to bear it and I am content.

We get this wrong when we put the emphasis on “I can do all things.” No, you can’t. And if you try to take all things as your own burden, they will overwhelm your strength. You can’t bear it. The result: peace goes out, anxiety comes right back in.

But keep reading.

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Focus on Him. Not on you, not your burdens, Him. Let Jesus give you strength. Let His strength work through you. And suddenly your burdens aren’t so bad. And you find joy, peace, and contentment. He’s got this. He’s got me.

And in that place, I’m content. Ask me if I need anything, anything at all. I’m good. Really good.

So Paul thanks them for sharing his trouble - for donating and helping - but he assures them that he has enough now. I think part of the secret to contentment is in that little word: enough. Contentment comes when we trust that what God gives us is enough!

So, with that being said, it is here that we end this series. 

I hope you have enjoyed this series. And I hope you can join us for another one. In part 3 of our Anxiety series, we’ll dig in together on what Jesus says about worry in Matthew 6. 

Through Bible Basics Explained, we explore core topics like peace, faith, forgiveness, work, manhood, the Ten Commandments, and much more.  Additionally, you can access audio guides for every Bible chapter in our Explained series of Bible books. From Genesis Explained to Revelation Explained and including this one - Philippians Explained. Also, there is our 19 Journeys through the whole Bible series. I hope you can join us, and if so, we'll see you then. 

Don’t forget to read today’s passage in Philippians 4. May God be with you, and may His peace guard your hearts and your minds - in Christ Jesus.

Next: Read Philippians 4:10-12

For Thought & Discussion:

  1. In verse 12, what do you think Paul means by the secret of being content?
  2. In verse 13, what does it mean to do all things through Christ? And how does He give you strength?
  3. How does doing everything through Christ help you to be content no matter how much money or stuff you have?

Bible Basics Explained is produced by Through the Word. Find more on the Through the Word app and at throughtheword.org.