We start our journey to redefining “content” in Philippians 4. Paul is writing this Epistle from a prison in Rome. A prison. A place of hunger, thirst, discomfort, terror. A place of everything BUT the feelings of contentment. If I had been writing this letter, I can tell you that it would start and end with, “THIS IS MISERABLE AND I AM MISERABLE!”
Yet, Paul writes something much different. Pull up your Bible app and read Philippians 4:11-13. What is Paul saying? Is he actually…content….right now? Where he is? This doesn’t quite sound like Merriam Webster’s definition of being content! (feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation) I’m sure he doesn’t feel satisfied with his situation right now. So, there must be something more to “being content;” something more than feeling content-but what?! Paul shares with us in verse 12 that, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” So, Paul, what’s the secret? Cue verse 13.
Verse 13 says, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” This verse is often taken out of context (in fact, you’ve probably seen it on countless sports teams’ shirts). The “all this” is referencing being content in any situation (not necessarily winning that football game). Paul is telling us that we can be content in ANY situation only through the Lord who gives us the strength to do so! Being content is not a feeling based on a situation, but a state of being based on who the Lord is!
So, that’s the secret to being content: finding our contentment in the Lord. When we are content in the Lord alone, He gives us the strength to face life’s difficulties. It is ONLY in Him, through Him, and by Him that we can be content.
Action: Set your phone timer for 3 minutes and take this time to reflect on the italicized sentence above. Now, set three different reminders over the next 24 hours to read Philippians 4:11-13.
Let us know! Do you find yourself living by Merriam Webster’s definition of being content, or the definition we find in Philippians?
Author: Hannah-Grace Hedgecoth