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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Contentment in All Circumstances

“... I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity ...” Philippians 4:11-12 NASB

One Sunday, I was sitting in an easy chair in my back yard watching my fountain’s bubbles pop instead of going to church; I began to feel a bit guilty. Even reminding myself that my wife was sick with serious bronchitis didn’t take the lazy bum feeling away.

I let my mind go as if I was at a resort surrounded by palm trees and the sound of the ocean, and suddenly Paul’s voice seemed to intrude and say: “I learned to be content.” Trying to block out the peaceful musical sounds from my fountain, which were hypnotizing me, I thought: “How did Paul learn to be content?”

Still semi-hypnotized, a memory appeared in my mind and caused me to take a step back in time:

My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary in Mexico. We were staying at the Mayan Palace Resort in Rocky Point, Mexico. We had been blessed by receiving an unexpected upgrade to the Grand Mayan section of the luxurious resort. We were happy campers.

As I stood on our balcony looking down at a miles-long private beach owned by the resort, I was very awed. But, I was also concerned by what I had read in Luke 6:24 (NASB): “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.” As I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with riches, I wondered if we needed to jump in our car and burn rubber away from the Palace.

When I calmed down, I realized that any verse taken out of context is a pretext. Thinking about the context of Luke 6 made me feel much better. Jesus had said that when we have abundance, we must be on our guard as our life does not consist of our possessions or pleasures. God loves us. Giving is a natural desire for anyone in love. However, gifts can be dangerous.

Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 NASB.

Then, the Holy Spirit answered my question and told me how Paul learned to be content.

Paul first said:

“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Philippians 4:12 NASB

And then pow! He tells how contentment is possible by saying in the following verse: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NASB

Paul’s relationship with Jesus put everything into perspective and was satisfying enough to strengthen him into contentment

After I told my wife what I’d learned, we held hands and went on a long walk on the beach and picked up shells normally found in seashell shops. The sounds and mist from the waves seem to be a living motion picture we had walked into. We felt our Lord’s warm presence as the three of us walked and enjoyed being together. We were content.

I was very thankful to have been shown what the Holy Spirit taught Paul about contentment. He had said that:

Jesus and contentment are partners. Don’t reject His loving gifts to you; accept them with gratitude and use them humbly. Hold on to the love in Jesus’ tender hands and this will be a very good day.

Copyright © 2018 Bob Segress, Ph.D., used with permission.

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