“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—from understanding that He took all your inability to be perfect to the Cross. He took your sins. He took your failures. Then why do you try so hard on your own strength to perfectly sacrifice yourself, when Jesus, the son of God, is the only Perfect Sacrifice?
Trying hard to live perfectly—without any fault—is self-defeating. If you dwell on the fear of failing all the time, where is your focus? On your failure. If you dwell on the love of Jesus and the gift He imparted to you at Calvary, where is your focus? On His love and 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 of 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 not only changed 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 accepted and loved. Paul lived the freedom of God's grace. He burned to share this Good News which had set him free!
When you live the freedom you have received in Christ, you have certain things in your life that are a result of that freedom. You are open and honest with nothing to hide. You don’t have a point to make or someone to convince. You are not looking to gain anything, and you aren’t concerned about losing anything. Everything belongs to Jesus anyway. You have joy and peace. And you are free to love unconditionally without judgment.
Just like Paul, you are free to love and free to serve! 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 key to contentment and peace. It is also the only key to yours.
© 2020 Lynn Lacher