01 October 2013

Therewith to be Content (A Habit for Day 1)

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Philippians 4:13

You know that verse, right?

For all my life, almost, I've looked at that verse as an empowerment to accomplish all my goals and face the impossible (but always glorious) dreams I had for myself as a person and would-be worker for God.  Here it was, God's promise that I could do great things with my life, without fail.  With Him, I really could do it all.  I tried, too.  It hadn't occurred to me that maybe what I could do for Jesus was endure a season in life that seemed dry, mediocre, and humanly barren.

Then in a moment, a quiet one, it grabbed me afresh--because this time I read the context.

"But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.  Not that I speak in respect of want:  for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound:  everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Philippians 4:10-13

Did it catch you?

Paul writes to the Philippians, affirming their offerings to help him, which is really helping the gospel go to all the world, because he's a missionary.  Yet he doesn't want them to think it's all about him.  Instead, he simply wants to thank them for the blessings while assuring them that no matter what, Jesus is his sustenance.  His food and drink, his all in all.

Jesus gives him power to endure all hardships with content, and to endure all times of plenty in the same humility that looked to Jesus in times of need.

It's not all about the goals and dreams we have for ourselves or our ministries--though with Christ, we can do all those things, too, according to His plans.  It's about contented faith no matter what the trial, no matter what the victory, an evenness of character that stays the same no matter the heights or the depths we reach.

So in our deserts of trial, temptation, and loneliness, this promise is one of the greatest strongholds for our lives.  We can pass through the desert safely, or endure it permanently, through Christ, who is our strength.

Thus it's the same Paul who writes to the Hebrews, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  Hebrews 13:5

Jesus is enough, He is the key to contentment, and He is always right close by.  Even in the desert you're facing today.

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  1. It was in the last year or so that I finally really got what that verse was about. Thanks so much for such a great post. I look forward to the rest of the series! God bless, Lisa :O)

  2. My favorite phrase: "an evenness of character" :)


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