One of the most popular verses that Christians quote is Philippians 4:13, which reads, “I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.” Like any verse in Scripture, it is important to understand the surrounding context of this verse. In the preceding verses (Phil. 4:10-12), Paul says that he has learned how to be content in a variety of circumstances, regardless of the amount of money, food, or things that are available to him (4:12).
When you stop to think about it, that level of contentment is really, really difficult. If we were to lose our jobs, I don’t know how many of us could make an honest claim to being content. So what’s Paul’s spiritual secret? How does he have contentment regardless of his situation?
That brings us back to Philippians 4:13. Therein we find the secret to Paul’s contentment. Jesus Christ gives Paul the strength to have this kind of contentment. In other words, it takes nothing less than Christ’s empowerment to enable you to be content. While Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross to free you from the penalty of sin, He also gave you the power to live for Him.
Contentment is not about the things you hold in your hands. It’s about knowing that God holds you in His hands. Contentment is not about pining for what is missing; it’s about recognizing all that has been given. If you are longing for something or someone right now and God has not provided it, then you can rest assured that God has a good reason for it. As your all-knowing and loving heavenly Father, God knows what is best for you. And in the meantime, you can also be confident that God will supernaturally give you the strength to be content.
- What are some specific areas in which contentment is difficult for you? Will you take them to the Lord in prayer?
- What are specific areas of blessing in your life?
- Will you praise and thank God for them?
Written by Jonathan Szeto. Artwork by Carol Li