Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 4 of the Lord’s Prayer Series “Give Us Today Our Daily Bread” (LISTEN HERE).
Philippians 4:10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Contentment is hard.
It does not come naturally.
It is easy for our heart to always want more.
Contentment has to be learned.
The Apostle Paul had extreme swings in his physical condition. He was ship wrecked and at other times enjoyed a meal with friends. He spoke to a captivated crowd, but then found himself being stoned by another crowd. No doubt there were times where he yearned for better and wondered why he was in the current circumstances. Yet as he sat in prison writing to the believers in Philippi, he shared a lesson he learned:
12 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.
Contentment for the Christian does not come naturally. We live in a culture where the marketing world’s job is to make us discontent and seek to find contentment in the product they are selling. We have many things money can buy and yet when we buy somethings, we barely pause to enjoy it before our heart is set on the next thing. Our culture communicates that contentment is found with more money, more things, more experiences. We often put a condition on contentment and say, “I will be content when…” (…I have more money, get a new job, graduate from school…etc.).
So what was the “secret” to contentment that Paul learned?
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Contentment is a gift of God and a working of his Spirit. Contentment is a working of God’s Spirit to understand that in plenty or want, well fed or hungry, I have all I need in Christ. My physical condition or my material wealth do not change my status with God. I am, by grace, always a loved, redeemed, gifted child of God.
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When we pray for daily bread, we are also praying for contentment with what God has blessed us with today. If he chooses different or additional blessings tomorrow, I will remember to give thanks for those things and that situation also is a gift from God (whether good or bad). My confidence in praying “Give us this day our daily bread” is the confidence that God will give me today what I need for today.
In that, I can be content.
Apply: What is causing discontent in your life? What perspective change can God’s Spirit give that will help you learn to be content, no matter the circumstances around you?
Prayer: Lord, forgive my heart of discontent and teach me, as you did Paul, to be content in every circumstance…starting with today. AMEN.