“I know what it is to be in need,” Paul wrote, “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 4:12, NIV).
Peace and contentment come from knowing who you are in Jesus Christ—that He loved you enough to die for you. He accepts you! Not only that! In His eyes, you are good enough. He only sees you through the eyes of Grace. You don’t have to continually strive to be perfect. You are loved because He took all your inability to be perfect to the cross. Jesus took your sins. He took your failures. Then why do you try so hard to perfectly sacrifice yourself, when Jesus, the only Perfect Sacrifice, wiped out your debt?
Striving to live without any fault is self-defeating. If you dwell on the fear of falling into sin all the time, where is your focus? On sin. If you dwell on the love of Jesus and the gift He imparted to you at Calvary, where is your focus? On Grace. Jesus can only keep you in His perfect peace when your mind and your thoughts are fixed on Him instead of your failures and sins. Do you strive to make your life picture-perfect? Without realizing it, you attempt to please or satisfy an impossible expectation of your own or someone else. You burn out striving to reach what is never enough and become defeated because you or someone else is never satisfied.
Paul's contentment came from knowing who He was in Jesus Christ. He didn’t need to be recognized by others for sacrificing himself for the sake of Christ. There was nothing to prove or show. He also trusted God in whatever circumstance he found himself. Of course, 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. His eyes were not on what was around him but upon His Savior. He knew God’s peace and had a purpose that only God could fulfill in his life. Incarceration could not stop him from trusting God to meet all his needs. His chains could not keep him from his purpose to write of God's grace. He had learned the secret of being content in every circumstance. It was the grace of Jesus.
Meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus had changed not only his heart but his perspective. He had been blind, but then his eyes opened. He had a life-changing encounter with the Perfect Sacrifice for his sins. Paul did not strive to be good enough in His work for the Gospel. His missionary work was an outpouring of what the Cross had given Him—a new life and peace knowing that in the eyes of His Savior, He was good enough. Paul lived in the freedom of God's grace. He yearned to share this Good News which had set him free!
Do you struggle to be good enough? If you are struggling, you are living a works mindset instead of Grace’s freedom.
Tricia Gunn in her book, Unveiling Jesus, writes, “You can tell when you are under grace, living in freedom every day because you have certain qualities about you. For example, you have:
nothing to hide,
nothing to prove,
nothing to gain,
nothing to lose,
no one to convince,
no one to impress.”
“You don’t need followers,” Tricia Gunn continues. “You don’t need man’s approval. You are marked with joy and peace and security. You are free to serve and free to love.”
Just like Paul, you are free to serve! You are free to love! Living in the freedom of His grace, you know peace no matter what life presents. You look at life’s trials knowing the Savior who gave you His life has brought peace to yours. Paul had contentment and peace no matter what life presented him. When his blind eyes opened, all the power of the gospel poured into his life. The Grace of Jesus is Paul’s secret for contentment and peace. It is also the amazing secret for yours.
© 2019 Lynn Lacher