Summer Daily Devotional - Philippians 4
The Key to Contentment
Google "most popular Bible verses" and you will see Philippians 4:13 at the top.
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Since you're already on your computer, now go ahead and Google that verse specifically.
You'll undoubtedly find it on a variety of images and pictures, like a guy hanging one-handed from a cliff's edge or a guy in mid-flight as he dunks a basketball or a gal with arms raised in triumph as she summits a mountain.
You'll even see this verse on a picture of an ant raising a branch above its head.
Now I'm no Bible scholar, but I'm pretty sure the Apostle Paul wasn't talking to insects when he wrote this verse.
Sorry, I digress.
All of these pictorial applications completely miss the point of the verse and one of Paul's primary points of this entire chapter.
That's right. Contentment.
It may not seem as exciting as an athletic achievement or watching an insect lift a twig, but trust me. It is.
Although summiting a mountain – as incredible as it may be – may teach you more about yourself, contentment teaches you more about Jesus. And that's really exciting, isn't it?
When Paul says he's learned the secret of being content in any and every situation (v.11), I think he had in mind Jesus.
Jesus is, after all, the greatest picture of contentment.
In the face of excruciating and agonizing loss, Jesus was content to make Himself nothing, to become obedient to death even on the cross (go back and read chapter 2). For He knew what was held for Him on the other side of His temporary loss.
Jesus didn't let His circumstances rule the day. He was completely satisfied with His Heavenly Father. Jesus was and is content.
The truth is you and I always want more. It's our natural bent. We always want more and we always want better. And that can easily become a bad thing – discontentment – when not actively battled by a heart of contentment.
It's just so easy to let our circumstances, instead of our relationship with Jesus, determine how satisfied we are with life.
So, Paul's point with verse 13 and in much of this chapter isn't to encourage our everyday desire for more or for better. And it's certainly not to encourage us to get more selfies rappelling a mountainside.
His point is to get us to reflect on the blood-bought truth that despite our present circumstances, which may be really hard, Jesus is sovereign, He is sufficient, and our future is secure (3:20). That's our ultimate circumstance. That's our ultimate reality.
We can then live content lives in Jesus because...we can do everything through Him who gives us strength.