Learn to Be Content - iBelieve Truth - February 23, 2024

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“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 all this through him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:11-13

The year 2020 was one of the worst years of my life and not just because of COVID. It was a year of intense persecution where the enemy attacked every area of my life. My finances, marriage, and health all suddenly hit rock bottom. I struggled with such intense anxiety that I needed the help of a professional. In those days, I wept and cried out to God. I felt like I was at the end of myself. Every area of my life had been deeply affected. There were times when I felt like I had nothing good in my life and was struck with such deep hopelessness and despair. 

Just a year prior, however, my world was perfect. My husband and I had entered a new church, our ministry was effective, our marriage was thriving, and our finances were in good shape. Just a few months later, however, I watched as my world crumbled around me, and there was nothing I could do about it. 

If we're honest, we all have suffered intense periods of our lives despite recent abundance in our finances, health, or career. We may find ourselves asking, “How could this happen to me?” Just a few months prior to my difficult year, I had everything I could want at my fingertips. A few years later, I felt as if my whole world was out of control. It's in these moments that we want to cry out to God. We cling to Jesus so tightly and hope even just a bit of his love and kindness will heal our broken lives. These are indeed the times when God wants us to cling to him. It is also in these moments when he wants to teach us the principle of contentment. 

Philippians 4:13 is a familiar verse to most, yet it's one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. Many Christians use this verse as an encouragement that they can do whatever they put their minds to. They can achieve whatever dreams they want, and God will support them. Others use this as a verse to justify God’s desire for us to be rich. Yet, in the context, this verse is more about contentment. 

Paul, while in prison, writes this because he has experienced both times of great highs and great lows in his life. But he knows that Jesus is the only constant in his life. Paul understood intense persecution in prison yet enjoyed great times of favor when he saw many people healed as God used him throughout his ministry. Paul writes this to assure us that no matter what season of life we may be in, if we practice contentment, Christ will give us the strength to get through whatever season we are going through. 

In what season of life do you find yourself? Are you experiencing a great time of abundance and favor from God? Are you in an intense season like Paul was when he was chained, persecuted, and imprisoned? Christ teaches us that our happiness does not rely on our circumstances. Contentment is key when it comes to weathering whatever trials come our way. Enjoy the high times in life, but don't leave God in the low times. When we practice contentment, we will be able to weather whatever storms come our way.

Father, help us to understand that true contentment is the key to having a successful life. Whether we are in a season of abundance or a season of poverty, we know we can rely on you for our every need. Paul taught us to be content in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in. May we be content with whatever God has for us in this season. Amen. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/moisseyev

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.

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Originally published Friday, 23 February 2024.