Paul letter to the Philippian Church contains Paul’s keys to contentment. It is not born in you. It’s a decision you make. This is the man who preached to the Gentiles when everyone else was evangelizing the Jews. He was the guy that didn’t circumcise converts. He reprimanded Peter for refusing to shut down prejudice.
Philippians 4:13 is the most famous verse in the Bible. Contentment is a skill to be learned.
Philippians was a letter to a church that Paul founded. We need to discover where Paul was emotionally and spiritually when he wrote the book.
“I HAVE LEARNED the hard way to trust him. To be content WHATEVER the circumstances. It is not my situation that regulates my satisfaction. I have learned the secret of being content.”
Paul says, “I was good before you got here-I’m good. Even before you sent your gift. I am amply supplied.”
?Here are Paul’s “Contentment Commandments”
God is a God of freedom. When God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, He began the process of getting Egypt out of them. We would rather stay with familiar addictions, familiar mindsets because it feels normal. We choose normal rather than new. God wants you free from the need to be approved by others.
Before the 10 Commandments, God wanted the Jews to be free.
Did Paul get justice? Paul was unjustly accused. He was treated as a common criminal rather than a Roman citizen. Paul in chains was freer than a lot of us.
Paul has expressed freedoms in his letter to the Philippians:?
Chapter one: Freedom from fear. I don’t care whether I die or live. Kill me. I’ll see Christ. If you leave me here, I’ll keep working.
Chapter two: Free from my flesh. I don’t have anything to prove. I am doing the will of God. He imitates Christ’s servanthood.
Chapter four: It’s almost a P.S. I can do all things through Christ. It’s a weight lifting verse. “God will supply all your needs.”
A ‘P.S.” is a perspective shift..?1. THOU SHALT REMEMBER TO REJOICE.
The worst thing you can do-is forget how He loves, you redeems you.?Worship songs remind you to surrender. Contentment means nobody has to remind you to rejoice.
“Again I say rejoice!” How easy it is to forget. We often have selective memory-remember those good things to rejoice. Make a movie in your mind. Delete evil-enhance the good.
In the final cut in Hollywood, the terms means you have the final say over what goes on the big screen. But for Christians, you can have the final cut. Remember the blessings. Rejoice in the victories.
Bless the Lord at all times. Bless the Lord in the midst of battles.
Paul wrote terrible thank you notes. Mom raised him right. He sat at the feet of Gamaliel, Pharisee of Pharisees. But Paul was not a good thank-you note writer!
“I rejoice in the Lord that AT LAST you send me a little something. Indeed you were concerned but had not opportunity. There was a period of silence. He could have thought, “Nobody cares about me.”
How do you interpret silence?
2. REFUSE TO RESENT.
He refused to live in the prison of resentment. No windows, only bars. I choose to assume that you wanted to help me. Refuse to resent others in every situation.
How do you view your past? You can live in resentment or contentment. God wants his children free. You have to be like Joseph. It does matter that you had rough times in the past. Joseph said, “God sent me here to save your lives!”
The only one free was Joseph who was in prison. I will not another day I refuse to live in resentment when Christ died to set me free.
3. APPRECIATE ALL SEASONS.?”…When you renewed your concerned for me.” The Greek word means you caused your concern to bloom. Church is seasonal sometimes, like the summer. Some people get busy in certain seasons of the year. God is not as important as other things.
You have to live through bad seasons. “A re-building year.” It means you are losing. Right now the nights are long and the days are short. Paul says it was a long winter, but there is spring. To everything there is a season. I know how to have plenty, and I know how to be pruned.
4. THOU SHALT KEEP A SECRET STASH.
Paul wrote, “I choose to believe the best. I got your gift. It took awhile. I didn’t really need it.” If you are going to house and you don’t know if the food is good, pre-eat. Be spiritually full before you come to church. “It’s nice but I don’t need it.” I get high on my own supply. I have some songs I can sing all by myself.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.?
5. THOU SHALT NOT CONFUSE THE SUPPLY WITH THE SOURCE.
What happened to the Israelites waiting for Moses when they danced around the Golden Calf? They got the created things, instead of their Creator. Paul starts by saying “I rejoice in the LORD for sending the gift.” Not, “I rejoice in the gift. “
However God blesses you in every season, He was the one who provided it. You might be living in dual seasons.
You may have a great job, but also have wayward kids. Everybody needs to know your life, no matter how good or bad, is from God’s hand. You reject the blessing because of the burden.
“I am not the drink, I’m the straw.” It takes the pressure off me, the preacher.
Got a new car? Every good and perfect gift comes from God.
God is my source. If you believe that, you will have no problem following Him.
Paul wrote, “When I first started out, not one church was giving me anything.” He was making tents. Paul was staying up late working to pay for his ministry.
6. THOU SHALT NOT DOWNPLAY DISAPPOINTMENT.
Paul could be disappointed. But he refused to define himself by setbacks. He knew disappointment sends you to destiny if you stay with it.
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living,” Contentment begins with trust in a good God.