“Do not be anxious about anything, unless you are in the midst of a pandemic.” Oh, that’s not in your Bible?
- When I’m anxious, I often think, “If only this would just go away,” as if contentment was the absence of trouble.
- When I’m frustrated, it’s easy to think, “If I only had this or that,” as if contentment was all about my gratification.
- When I’m isolated, sometimes I try to say to myself, “Whatever,” as if contentment was apathy.
Is there a secret to being content in any circumstance? Yes! Twice in Philippians 4:11-13, Paul says that he “learned” the secret while he was chained to a soldier in prison. What’s the big secret? Learn to do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13).
The secret to living in the midst of a pandemic is to learn to do all things “through” Christ, that is, learn to allow “Christ in you” to form in you, to permeate your thoughts, heart, and entire being.
Wait a minute. How does this work? What’s the secret to the secret? It’s top secret! (Paul is just about to tell you, but you won’t like it). “Know how to be brought low” (Phil 4:11). Oh, no. Why is humility required in CONTENTMENT 101 class?
The Lord teaches by dwelling with those who “break,” with those who are “contrite and lowly in spirit” (Isaiah 57:15). Jesus, “the fullness of God,” “emptied himself” for our sake (Col 1:19; Phil 2:7). He gave his all so “that we may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19). Everything became nothing so that empty nothings can receive his everything.
Pop quiz! Pick one: A) be anxious and hoard and try to control everything; or B) humble myself and draw from an infinitely resourceful God. (Hummm, let me think about it … gee, which one?)!
You can learn. The Lord will teach you. And you will be amazed how “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19).
PRAY: Lord, teach me the secret of contentment. I want to learn how to be brought low, even though I’m so used to avoiding it. Perhaps it’s my refusal that makes me miserable. Jesus, gently lead me to a place where I can break in your loving presence, come to the end of myself, empty myself of myself, so that I can experience the power of Christ sustaining me. More grace, more mercy, Jesus. Amen.