How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. 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 with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.
It is obvious that the Philippians loved and cared for Paul a great deal. They were faithful to help Paul with his financial needs and constantly covered him in prayer, as he traveled, spreading the Gospel. Because Paul gave of himself so liberally, to be their pastor, teacher, and mentor, they understood the philosophy of giving back and unconditional love because Paul had modeled it so beautifully.
Writing this letter to the Philippian Christians was one of the many ways that Paul utilized his opportunity to teach, train and mentor. He always tried to model the behavior and characteristics of Christ so that no one ever had the opportunity to label him as a hypocrite or false teacher. Just like Christ, he experienced many of the same things that the people around him were experiencing, allowing him to be empathetic to their needs and able to relate to them on a human level.
It is only through difficult experiences and situations that we are able to gain such valuable knowledge and understanding and pass that on to others, to help them in their time of need and desperation. Everything that Paul experienced, both the good and the bad, was used to bring glory to God. So he understood that if he felt hungry or full, was in need or had plenty, it was all destined by God so that someone that Paul came in contact with could be ministered to and touched by the love of Christ.
Life is not about fulfilling our own happiness and meeting our own needs. God wants us to understand that life is about touching others for him, especially those who don’t know and understand about true salvation through Jesus Christ. And when we finally recognize and accept that truth, God will allow us to walk through some pretty uncomfortable situations and experience some really difficult realities. But if we could see the bigger picture, as Christ does, we would be more than willing to walk through those circumstances with faith, knowing that God brings about victory in the end.
Contentment, regardless of our physical comfort level, is a higher place that God is trying to call each of us to strive for and attain. It’s only when we get to that place, that we become the true servants that He’s called each of us to be. We all must learn to decrease (our desires and wants) in order for Christ to increase in our lives. The bottom line to today’s devotion is……..IT’S NOT ABOUT US!
Do you gripe and complain about every situation that causes discomfort in your life? Have you ever tried to be content with what you have and where you’re going? Spend one day, not asking God why, or petitioning Him with a list of wants, and simply thank Him for your blessings. Physically make a list of everything that you’re thankful for and dwell on that list today. Then ask God for forgiveness for your selfish desires and motives, and ask Him to fill you with His desires and motives. Concentrate on contentment today.
Have a great day!