April 6, 2020
When Paul wrote his letter to the Church in Philippi (Philippians) he was in a Roman prison in Rome awaiting his trial for preaching the Gospel. Initially under house arrest, Paul would later find himself in prison under the watch of Roman guards. He was permitted visitors, and fellow disciples of Jesus would come and visit him to encourage him and to give him news of the Church. He would give his letters to these letters to his visitors, who then distribute them to the Churches scattered throughout Asia-Minor.
Paul was exiled and not permitted to leave. It was an unpleasant way to live. But Paul had an interesting approach to his new way of living. And that was the way of contentment. In Philippians 4:12 we read the following words:
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.
Paul said that he had learned to be content. He knew what it was like to be in need and to have everything he needed. He was content, whether hungry or full, or poor or rich. He said he had learned the secret. What was this secret? The very next line of this verse tells us the secret: “For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” His contentment comes from the strength of knowing Jesus Christ as His Lord and Saviour. To be content, from the Greek (autarkes) means to be satisfied. This means that satisfaction comes from something outside of our circumstances. Our satisfaction comes from the Lord who dwells within us.
In these days of exile, in these days of not being able to live as we have, we have to learn to be content. We have to learn to be satisfied with the presence of Jesus Christ. It is only by surrendering and submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ that we will be able to be content and eventually overcome all things in the Lord. It is only the strength of the Lord that was sustain us.
Heavenly Father, I humble myself to you today, and submit myself to you, acknowledging that my circumstances do not bring contentment. Only the presence of Jesus Christ, who dwells within me by the power of the Holy Spirit can produce a contentment that makes me strong in the face of adversity. I submit and surrender all that I am to you today. Be my strength, be my satisfaction. In Jesus’ name I pray.