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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Contentment and Peace in All Things

“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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13).

I will never know true contentment and peace without God in my life. Nothing on this earth can offer such peace–no possession, no person, no joyful anticipation. Only God promises the deepest peace which come from abiding trust in His faithfulness. It is a peace that surpasses circumstantial contentment when all feels right with the world. God's peace is the peace I know when all is not right in my world. When the circumstances of my life should only speak despair and pain, I only know the greatest peace in spite of it all. 

Paul said that he had learned to be content in every circumstance. He didn't want to be in prison, and he certainly didn't want to be dependent on others to provide for his needs. He longed to be out of jail. But, no matter what he faced, he was content. Nothing in the world made Paul content. His contentment came from his deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God gave him peace, and with that peace a purpose to fulfill. His incarceration could not stop him from trusting in God to meet all his needs. His chains could not keep him from writing of God's great goodness. He had learned the secret of being content in every circumstance. In allowing the Lord to define His well-being instead of His surroundings to discourage Him–in allowing the Lord to use Him completely no matter what His circumstance, Paul discovered the power which accompanies such surrender, and the joy of a spiritual fulfillment that nothing in the world offers.

I often discover that many things are just impossible. I cannot find contentment and peace because of my circumstances. Struggling doesn't help. Being angry doesn't help. It only makes it worse. But there is a peace that passes my understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). When I know God as intimately as Paul, I can give Him all that rages, and take refuge in Him. Paul's life reveals that is it absolutely possible to have peace and contentment when we trust God. When I discover this inner peace and contentment, my roller coaster life can be quiet as a gentle wave upon a shore. I know that nothing can come against me, and nothing is impossible for Him. I can do everything through Jesus who gives me the strength to accomplish it.

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