This weekend Pastor Jeff Manion reminded us of some of the most disruptive words in the whole Bible, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4.11b). When we read those words we can think, “But this guy obviously has no idea what I’m going through. He has no idea what it’s like to not make enough money, to eat ramen noodles all week, to live with my spouse, or to have to borrow money from my in-laws.”
The author of those words is the Apostle Paul. And, he did know what it was like to be in some pretty bad situations: beaten up, shipwrecked, and mocked openly. When he writes this letter to the Jesus community in Philippi, he’s in Rome under house arrest, chained to a Roman soldier. If anyone had a reason to grumble, it was Paul. Instead, he writes these incredibly disruptive words.
This weekend we learned there are three elements to Paul’s contentment, a contentment built upon the strength of God and trusting God. These three ideas (contentment, strength, and trust) are deeply intertwined.
Today, as you spend time in the Chair, identify what “next thing” you believe will make you happy. Offer a prayer of confession for placing your contentment in things and ask God to help you ground your contentment in him.