Monday, January 12, 2009

Be Content

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. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. ~~Philippians 4:10-13 NIV

Paul wrote this letter from a Roman prison to the Philippians to thank them for their gift. This letter was to encourage them in their faith. Paul established the church in Philippi on his second missionary journey. These people enjoyed a special relationship with Paul.

During Paul’s three missionary journeys he faced many trials, yet also he experienced times of prosperity. On his last journey he collected an offering to return to the church in Jerusalem. When he arrived at Jerusalem, they did not open him with welcome arms. They charged him falsely and committed him to prison. When the Roman governors could not sort out what charges the Jews brought against Paul, Paul appealed to Caesar. Then he began his journey to Rome as a prisoner. On his way to Rome, he was shipwrecked on an island for months. When he finally arrived in Rome, he was imprisoned. Yet his friends were allowed to tend to his needs.

Paul counted all his experiences joy. He celebrated the trials he faced in his life. He lived with much and he lived with little. He personally experiences all his needs being met through Christ and those faithful to Christ.

A little over two years ago, I traveled to Cameroon, Africa, on a short term mission’s trip. I learned to be content in my situations. When we arrived in Cameroon, we were informed our luggage did not arrive from Paris, where we had a connecting flight. Scheduled to be in another city the next day, we left the airport with only the contents in our carry on backpacks. After spending two days on the airplane, we all looked forward to a nice shower. We arrived during the rainy season; therefore, the hotel did not have dry towels. No hot water. No clean clothes. All conveniences I’m accustomed to as an American were stripped away in a matter of moments. We traveled on overcrowded buses. Restroom facilities were nonexistent. My life’s familiar conveniences were absent, but the love of Christ was so much more apparent.

I learned to be content with what I had on that trip. Christ was more than enough. God’s people met our needs all along the way. Fellow Christians opened their homes to feed us. I view things differently in America now. I’m on the journey and in the process of learning to be content in whatever circumstance I face. My situation may not be how I want it, but I’m learning to be at peace trusting the Lord to meet my needs.

Paul experienced the physical prison. For most of us we experience the imprisonment by our circumstances. In today’s devotion by Os Hillman titled “Secret Places,” Os quoted Bible teacher F. B. Meyer. "Whenever you get into a prison of circumstances, be on watch. Prisons are rare places for seeing things. It was in prison that Bunyan saw his wondrous allegory and Paul met the Lord and John looked through heaven's open door and Joseph saw God's mercy. God has no chance to show His mercy to some of us except when we are in some distressing sorrow. The night is the time to see the stars."

Then Os went on to relay this message, “We must live each day to the fullest. We can't live in the past or in the future. We must live in the moment God that gives us right now. Our time of deliverance will come according to God's schedule. Meanwhile, we need to be faithful in doing what God has given us to do and be content in the place where He has placed us.”

At this moment, let’s be obedient to what we know to do. Let’s be content with Christ where we are and He’ll change our circumstances when it’s time.

Engrafted by His Grace--

5 gracious comments:

conarnold said...

We are so accustomed to our comforts that it's hard to be content when we don't have them. Thanks for this reminder that Christ is all we truly need to be content in whatever situation God places us. Thanks for sharing, Shonda!

Shonda said...

Thanks for stopping by Connie.

It's not always easy to be content in our circumstances or situations. I'm learning to keep my eyes on Christ and trust HIM to sort it out.

Blessings in Christ-

Tiffany Stuart said...

Love this truth about contentment. I'm learning to be content. I will say it's easier said than done. But with HIS spirit, I can do all things. Including rest in prison(whatever my prison may be).

Happy 2009, Shonda. May the Lord make this year your greatest year yet.

Toia said...

This is so on the money. Sometimes I get caught up with "there's nothing to drink in this house", but the Lord is quit to let me know.."What about water?"

There's a lot people all over the world who pray for water good enough to drink. So, it's the little things like that where we should be content with drinking water, but some of us are not.

My prayer is to be content in any situation or circumstance. In addition to that contentment, that I will praise God in spite of what's going on around me.

lisasmith said...

Love, love this. We do see Christ more clearly in suffering...if we choose to look for Him there. Of this I am convinced. Great post!