Being the Content Christian: Keep Calm, Carry On! Philippians 4:11-13

Philippians 4:11-13 Amplified Bible

11 Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Contentment was a powerful word to the Greek-speaking people of Paul’s day.

To be content literally means “to find everything you need within yourself.”

Many teachers in that day believed contentment was the greatest virtue.

But their version of contentment was based on their self-accomplishment.

To become content, they taught, a person had to be able to provide completely and fully and utterly everything for himself or herself.

Paul knew that it was a myth to think that a human being can be completely self-sustaining – but it did not stop him from zealously, over zealously, trying.

And yet here within our passage from Philippians chapter 4, he looks deeply within himself and joyfully finds that everything he needs is there within him.

How did it get there?

God weaved it there even before he was born (Psalm 139:13-18).

God’s own Spirit had already begun living inside of Paul.

This contentment provided by the Spirit of God gave Paul tremendous freedom.

He goes on to say sometimes his physical needs have been met, and sometimes they have not been met.

But even when he has not had enough food, clothing, money, or other basic needs, he still found God’s peace and strength have been present within him.

I just realized something – You know what’s great about being a Christian?

Christian Life comes with a survival kit.

In all the roller coaster twists and turns and hiccups and hang-ups of life, we have a trusty and handy source of strength which can get us through it all.

Of course, I’m referring to the strength we find in our Lord and Savior Jesus.

The life of Saul the Master Pharisee, The Apostle Paul, serves as an excellent example in these perilous seasons of surviving everything life throws his way.

12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.

Please entertain this question – What hadn’t Paul been through in his life?

At the top of his Profession as a learned and educated, influential Pharisee.

Trained and mentored by Israel’s greatest Rabbi of that time – Gamaliel …

He was the “go to Pharisee” – the #1 expert in the Law and its applications.

He had great power and influence with the Temple Authorities to pursue the “new followers” of Jesus to the ends of the earth and arrest, imprison them.

Everyone knew you didn’t get in his way – the price of such action was severe.

Then at the peak of his greatness, his power and his influence, he encountered the Resurrected Jesus on the Damascus Road and stopped cold in his own tracks.

Suddenly, he was quite literally blinded.

In less than an instant, he was made utterly helpless.

For three days he fasted and prayed – not knowing whether or not help would ever arrive, if he would ever see again, if he would be reduced to blind begging.

From the very pinnacles of success, from the top of living then thrust straight to the bottom at the snap of someone else’s finger – someone he did not know.

He no longer had his great power or his vast influence over the people.

In an instant, he was now virtually “untouchable” ……

And he was still “alive” – trying to sort out what or who was coming next!

Can we begin to place ourselves into his mounting levels of stress and anxiety?

Suddenly thrust into the unknown – he was utterly helpless as a newborn baby.

He had to “figure out” how to live in a world which he could not see and may never see again – waiting for someone, anyone, to offer him a little charity.

He did not know who he could rely on for whatever assistance was going to be required for meeting his hourly and daily needs – food, clothing, and shelter.

Then, suddenly within his blindness, Paul received a vision – Acts 9:12

Then a man named Ananias, a man called by Jesus from his life of contentment, suddenly came to his bedside – touched Paul’s eyes and healed him – “In the name of JESUS CHRIST, Be Healed” and Saul/Paul’s sight was literally restored.

Then he received meat and was strengthened ….

Sight restored Paul took up residence with the disciples who were at Damascus.

After Three Days of Prayer and Fasting – Jesus redeemed his life from the Pit.

Psalm 40:1-2

40 I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of a horrible pit [of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my footsteps and establishing my path.

Humbled to the maximum, he began to proclaim Jesus in the Synagogues ….

Acts 9:17-20

17 So Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles].” 18  Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took some food and was strengthened.

Saul Begins to Preach Christ

For several days [afterward] Saul remained with the disciples who were at Damascus. 20 And immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This Man is the Son of God [the promised Messiah]!”

Now, several years later, after who knows how many beatings and hardships,

He wrote today’s devotional Bible Passage from “house arrest” a Roman Prison.

How’s that progression for setting the example for us in 2022, learning how to be content no matter what pinnacles and “valleys of death” life sends our way?

Verse 13 is often used more on a regular basis by than the previous two verses: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13).

I especially love the fact that this verse is written in direct support of “I can be content in any situation.”

So often we isolate verse 13 and we apply it to only encourage us to believe we can do the impossible because Christ strengthens us, which I am 100% all for.

However, sometimes we need to remember that this strength from Christ is not the strength to rip car doors off their hinges or to lift tractors or to lift boulders.

That strength comes from within from crazy high levels of Adrenaline when we are under an acute level of stress – following car accidents so to rescue a person.

The strength of Christ Paul talks about here in verse 13 is to help us manage the long concourse of our workdays, survive thru our toughest day to day activities.

Paul says he can remain content no matter what the circumstances are around him – he had absolute confidence, faith, hope, love and trust in Jesus his Savior.

Paul is saying the presence of the Holy Spirit within him would get him through any and all experiences – no matter how potentially catastrophic the situation.

I do not pretend to know what is going on in your life now but think about it.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words while he was locked away in a prison.

And even while captured, he wrote to people he never met about rejoicing and being full of joy (Philippians 4:4)!

I heard a preacher once say,

“You’re either in a storm, just got out of one, or about to enter one.”

That can sound daunting at first, but realistically we all know change and difficulty happen at a moment’s notice and even without a moment’s notice.

Anything can change for the better or for the worse at the snap of a finger.

Self-Related, Family Related. Work Related, Financially Related and Medically.

Like Saul who became Paul, we still have to work out the details of how we are going to actually live and navigate ourselves through these very trying times.

Koinonia Fellowship, Prayer, Fasting and Bible Study are all critically essential.

Connection and Relationship with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – are our absolute #1 priority – drawing from the strength which we simply will not have.

Through Jesus, we can breathe easy, rest confidently because we can handle it.

How ever gentle or severe or even catastrophic our hiccups, our let downs or our hang-ups, the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus gives us additional strength.

And he is with us before, after, and during the bad parts in our lives (Psalm 121).

When the winds of change blow, whether a gentle breeze or hurricane force winds, or unsearchable troubles are on the horizon, or everything goes swimmingly, know Christ has your back and will be your source of strength to keep calm and carry on!

In the name and strength of God, the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, thank You for this example of generous giving and of gracious receiving. I pray that I may be content in all things, whether I have much or little, but I also pray that You will prompt me give of what I have, when others are in need, not out of obligation but out of love for You. Thank You that all good and perfect things come from You, and may I be a good steward of all I have… and by your strength, trust You for all I need – in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

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