March 28 Contentment

Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:6–13

Key Verse: Philippians 4:12

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

We struggle enough over the issue of contentment, and most of us live in fairly good conditions with enough to eat and clothes to wear. Imagine Paul in prison, without some of the basic necessities and without personal freedom, and read his words carefully: “Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11–13 nasb).

Paul was not a blind and foolhardy optimist who denied reality. He had already endured much physical hardship, yet he could still look at his bleak prospects, humanly speaking, and say he was truly content. When he said that Christ was his strength for everything, he meant everything. He did not try to count his “haves” and “have-nots” in a spirit of worry or fear.

Paul knew that God’s best for him was found by abiding in Christ daily, trusting Him to furnish what he needed. More important, Paul knew that looking around in envy at other believers would lead only to attitudes of defeat and discouragement. And that is not God’s best for anyone.

Thank You, God, for what You have graciously given me: food, shelter, friends, and family. I trust You to furnish any lack in my life. Teach me to be content.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 91). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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