“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, NIV).
Without God in your life, you will never know real contentment and peace. 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 you experience when all is not right in your world. When the circumstances of your life should only speak despair and pain, you can 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. 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 prison 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 encourage Him instead of allowing His surroundings to discourage Him–in allowing the Lord to use Him no matter what His circumstance, Paul discovered the power which accompanies complete surrender and the joy of a spiritual fulfillment that nothing in the world offers.
Life means change. Life has problems. Many things you face seem impossible, and you have no peace because of your circumstances. Struggling doesn't help. Being angry at your circumstance doesn't help. It only makes your feelings about it worse, and creates fear. Dwelling on your problem is not the answer. Dwelling on Him is. He will keep you in His peace when you focus your thoughts on Him instead of your circumstance (Isaiah 26:3). He gives a spiritual peace that passes your human understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). You, too, can know God as intimately as Paul, and give Him all that rages in your life. He becomes your refuge and your sanctuary. When you discover this inner peace and contentment, your roller coaster life loses its ability to control your feelings. He imparts peace instead of fear. You know that nothing can come against you, and nothing is impossible for Him. You know that you can do anything through Jesus who gives you the strength to accomplish it.
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