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Weekly Bible Verse – Achieving Contentment
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 everything through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:11-13 (NIV)
Being content must be easier said than done considering how few people can actually live that way, at least in my society (myself included). I truly believe that our inability to be “content” generates a tremendous number of problems in our world today.
Have you ever thought or uttered the following (surely you at least know someone who has): “Sure, my house is fine but my neighbor has a bigger/nicer/newer (fill in the blank) house, patio, pool, car, etc. What makes my neighbor so special…if he can have one of those, then I deserve one too! Unfortunately, now that I’ve determined that I need one of those, I don’t have the money to spend to match my neighbor…but I do have a credit card!” Follow that pattern a couple times and you’ll pretty quickly find yourself in an uncomfortable and ultimately untenable situation.
The alternative to falling into this destructive pattern is, of course, being content with what you have. Being financially prudent in your purchases can pretty much be summed up in these two simple rules:
- Make wise purchase decisions based on reality
- Be content with those purchases
I think we all agree that being smart and then being content will drive us a long way down the path to winning with our finances. I think we also all agree that a lot of people are not doing that. Well, most of the rest of this blog is about the first step, so let’s focus on the second step here briefly.
In this week’s verse, Paul tells us that he was able to be content in all manner of circumstances. Whether he was experiencing a time of want or a time of plenty, he was satisfied (and isn’t it really hard to be satisfied during a time of want that comes after a time of prosperity?). How did he accomplish this – through the “secret” that he uncovered: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” “Him,” of course, is Jesus Christ.
Paul’s deep faith in Jesus provided him with real strength to confront those feelings of desire, lust, and envy that strike at us all. I don’t think Paul is saying that he never experienced those emotions, just that he was imbued with the strength to put them aside and overcome them. Exercising our faith forces us to shift our focus. We no longer dwell on us, what we want and need. Rather, we dwell on God and the eternal. The “things” that tend to preoccupy us are reclassified as eternally insignificant and therefore no longer hold so much sway over us.
Faith in Jesus Christ provides us with the one thing that we really do need – our eternal salvation. Shift your focus thusly and you may just see that having the most important thing will reduce your desire for the relatively insignificant ones.
God bless and have a great week..