Last Sunday, in Church At Home, we concluded our current ‘unshakeable faith’ series exploring Paul’s letter to the church at Philippians.
Paul is in prison, with no immediate signs of release, and yet he is still able to inspire and encourage others to stay true to Jesus, even as he commits to this himself.
Why not listen/watch the short message from Jumoke on Philippians 4.
There’s so much in these closing verses, but I want to draw your attention to some of Paul’s final thoughts – remembering he writes these words from a prison cell…
“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 4:12-13
Paul is honest about the highs and lows in life and faith. He has personally – and deeply – experienced what it feels like to prosper and to suffer.
It’s easy to find ourselves captured by comparison in difficult times. We wonder why life appears to be going so well for others and yet is so hard for us. Heaven appears silent to our prayers. It would have been very easy – and understandable – for Paul to focus on his imprisonment and compare his circumstance to those who are free.
Comparison is the enemy of us all.
We compare circumstances, health, achievements, looks, spirituality – the list is endless. What’s your Achilles heel when it comes to comparison?
But Paul provides us with the antidote to comparison.
The choice to embrace a different attitude.
I’m sure Paul wanted to be out of prison. I’m sure he prayed with a great passion for that moment to come (and eventually it did!).
But rather than focus on all that was wrong and disappointing, he made a conscious choice to be content and thankful for what was right and good.
Even in prison, Paul found a place of peace.
It was well with his soul – even though it wasn’t well with his circumstance.
This whole letter to Philippians revealed that Paul’s priority was to keep drawing closer to Jesus. To know Christ personally. To experience the reality of His presence.
Paul was able to remain content because of the presence of Jesus, despite the absence of much-needed miracles.
I appreciate that you may be facing very difficult times, or know loved ones who are. I don’t know why all these things happen to us. We live between miracle and mystery.
But I do know this. If we choose to keep hold of Jesus. To pursue His loving, strengthening presence. If we choose contentment and gratitude, even in the midst of the trials. We might just be surprised by the peace that the Holy Spirit brings.
May it be well with your mind, body and soul as you choose contentment and gratitude today.