I absolutely love reading and learning about the life of Paul. His testimony is such an amazing one of redemption – how someone can turn from such a bitter, angry, and evil way of life to a life where he serves the most high God with great joy. I think one of the most amazing things Paul writes about in the book of Philippians is contentment. Paul had gone through much suffering in his life – which he expected because God had told him he would face many trials. In 1 Corinthians, Paul offers a summary of some of the difficult times he’d gone through:
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
Yet, in Philippians 4, Paul states that he had learned the secret of contentment in all circumstances and he states that he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength.
…Talk about convicting! I know for me personally, if one person even says something remotely unkind to me, I get upset. If I find myself in a difficult situation, I get anxious. When I’m in a bad mood, I just want to sulk, or I want to vent to my loved ones. I couldn’t imagine getting beaten, hungry, cold, constantly in danger, and imprisoned for speaking about Jesus … and still being content!
It’s important to note that Paul says he learned the secret of contentment. Being content doesn’t come naturally; it’s something that you and I must work at through the power of Jesus Christ. We are in a constant battle with the flesh, so when we are angry or upset, it’s probably that the last thing we want to hear is to be content. However, being content is something we must do. Hebrews 13:5 makes that very clear, and it re-enforces that God will never leave us or forsake us.
The good news is – we really have no reason not to be content, because our God is a God of provision. There are many Bible verses that speak on being content, because God provides for us, even in our greatest weaknesses. Matthew 6:25-26, Matthew 6:32, and 2 Corinthians 12:10 are just a few. We can take great joy in the fact that we don’t have to carry the burden of covetousness, fear, or discontentment of any kind… because our God is good.
Erin Culleny is a new member of America’s Keswick’s full-time staff. Erin serves as a Marketing Assistant and Staff Writer. She served on Summer Staff since 2011, and this past summer had the unique opportunity of co-directing Children’s Ministry with one of her best friends. She is very excited to continue to build relationships with the guests and be very involved in the ministry.