Verse of the Day
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. [Philippians 4:11 – NIV]
Far too often we find ourselves living on an emotional rollercoaster. Frank Sinatra said it best: “Riding high in April, shot down in May.” And it’s not just our love life; we frequently face disappointment in every aspect of our lives—family, work, school, church, friends. Don’t get me wrong; emotions aren’t inherently bad. In fact, God has emotions, e.g., love, anger, jealousy, a sense of humor, compassion. It’s just that God’s emotions are perfect, controlled, just, and true, whereas our emotions stem from our self-centered, prideful nature and are often sinful. We strive for happiness when it’s really joy and inner peace that bring contentment.
In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul shares the key to overcoming the doldrums, “be content whatever the circumstances.” On the surface this sounds like something that we can work toward, but just imagine that you’ve lost your job, your wife wants a divorce, or you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer. How will you react? Is contentment really something that we can experience in the here and now? The answer is yes!
Paul didn’t just pick himself up from the road to Damascus, brush himself off, and live a Christlike life. Philippians 4:11 tells us that he “learned to be content” (emphasis added). So Paul went through a maturation process just like us. As our lives shift from being self-centered to being Christ focused, we move closer and closer to realizing the many blessings that Paul and others tell us are possible. Content no matter the circumstances. You bet. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.