Can you believe that we’ll be rapping up our study of Philippians this Friday? It was only the bones of a in-depth study, but I sure hope it stirred your heart and helped you reflect on where you are in relation to where God calls you to be!
I know it certainly has been quite the ride for me! I’ve learned a lot. I’ve had to unlearn a lot, as well. I was surprised the the “Book of Joy” is also filled with practical application and godly expectations. Throughout Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, he called them to live a life worthy of their calling and to be who they said they were.
Oh yeah, Philippians has been so much more than the “Book of Joy”!
As we look at our text today, it’s important that we keep it in context. Remember – context is key! So, take a few minutes and read through Philippians 4:10-13 in the Amplified. I’ve provided a link here.
Yesterday’s study shed a little light on one of the lessons found in these rich verses, but I wanted to share our text today in context because it’s important to today’s lesson.
As you read through today’s text, you find that Paul wasn’t concerned about the financial support he received from the Philippian church – he was concerned about the heart from which it came. They were loving hearts, and as we said Monday, he was feeling the love.
Paul wasn’t worried about getting his needs met, he had learned the art of contentment.
Although these verses are chock full of lessons for us to learn, our focus will only be on three.
Contentment is learned. Notice verse 11 is actually and explanation of how Paul “learned” to be content.
1. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 and explain how Paul’s experience could have taught him how to be content.
2. Read 1 Corinthians 4:11. Do you think the circumstances he described were part of his school of contentment? If so, how could those circumstances help Paul learn how to be content?
Let’s face it, learning to be content is kind of like learning how to be patient. It doesn’t happen by osmosis – it happens in the school of hard knocks. Paul didn’t learn to be content in a classroom – he learned in a jail cell, shipwrecked on an island, beaten and left for dead, and a host of others ways.
3. What life lessons have taught you how to be content?
Contentment is a state of restful sufficiency. It’s a state of knowing all is well even when circumstances say all is not. Contentment that is not dependent upon outward circumstances, but is demonstrated because of an inward trust in God.
4. How do you respond to lack of food, shelter or clothing? Would you be content in jail, being the object of slander and abuse, being ridiculed or being a fugitive?
Contentment comes from trusting in the sufficiency of Christ. It’s the Philippians 4:13 factor.
5. Paul was content because he knew that no matter what he went through, Christ was trustworthy. Do you have that same kind of assurance?
6. What are you going through right now that tests your contentment level?
In context, Philippians 4:13 is more about the ability to remain content in the midst of circumstances that would normally make you anxious, uptight or fearful. Circumstances that would typically cause you to demonstrate anything but contentment.
But we generally quote that verse in reference to our desire to accomplish specific actions or goals. And while it obviously can carry over to our ability to do or go through anything – it is primarily the factor found in a content heart – the knowledge that no matter what we face – no matter if we’re rich or poor, hungry or full, being persecuted or walking in freedom, warm or cold, homeless or securely tucked in our own bed every night – we can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
7. According to Philippians 4:13, where does Paul say he gets the strength to do all things?
8. Do you walk through life with the same confidence in Christ as Paul?
Today, we’ve talked about the the Philippians 4:13 factor as it relates to being content. A lack of contentment can cause a lot of problems. Consider these statements:
I don’t have a husband like that?
I don’t like being single. I need to start looking for a boyfriend.
I wish I had a bigger house.
I think I need a newer car.
I need to update my wardrobe. I’m still wearing clothes I bought two years ago.
While some of those statements may be true, the goal is to be content with what we have and ask God to begin to work in our circumstances and orchestrate the events of our lives and move on our hearts to make certain changes if it is His will. Otherwise – we just need to be content and function fully for His glory in the situations we are in.
If you’re always looking at what you don’t have, you’ll miss seeing what you do have. Be fully present where you are, sweet friend – this is the now you’ve been given! Bask in it; learn from it; live in it!
Do you struggle with maintaining a content heart? If so, remember that it is only found through Christ who strengthens you. Abide in Him precious one – and He will strengthen you – He will enable you to remain content no matter what your circumstances are!
I’d love to walk through the Word with you. You can receive your Bible study in your inbox by clicking this link. Or you can click on the Google or Networkedblog link to receive it in your feeder.
© Stephanie Shott, 2011