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The Secret To Being Content-Part 2

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

Good Morning My Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad that you're here today. 

People in our society are desperately seeking to be happy, to be content. People are seeking contentment and typically in the world, they assume that contentment is the absence of all problems. However, that's not the true meaning of contentment. True contentment is being able to be satisfied, even in the midst of any problem. Only God is able to offer us that kind of contentment, through Jesus Christ. 
Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we just thank You for this wonderful Word. Thank You for the clarity of the instruction of this truth. Lord, we pray that we would experience the kind of contentment that only comes to those who trust, those who are truly satisfied with little, those who live above their circumstances, those who are more concerned with others than self, those who are sustained by Your power as a result of an obedient life. Help us O Lord, that may know that kind of contentment in Christ.
In Christ's name

Today's Message: The Secret To Being Content-Part 2

Open your Bibles with me to the book of Philippians, chapter 4. As you know, I typically cover several verses at a time, depending on the magnitude of the verses. However, today, we will be looking at only verse 13, which I'm sure that all of you are quite familiar with. For many of you, it has likely become your mantra. 

As familiar as you may or may not be, I'm going to read verse 13, to set it in our minds. Philippians 4:13.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
I've had many people, both Christians and non-Christians, ask "Pastor, what is the secret to contentment. Can you just tell me the principal?" The secret of contentment is not a principle but a person. The secret is Jesus Christ. Paul writes in some of the most memorized words of Scripture: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Now that we’ll spend some time looking at this passage, we know that "all things" means, all things.
However, "all things" certainly does not mean absolutely everything. Paul could not fly to the moon and back just by flapping his arms. If God wanted him to he certainly could, but that’s not the point. The strength that Paul refers to that enables him to do all things is a strength from God that brings contentment. 

Believers are empowered by God to live the Christian life no matter the circumstances. In this case, this means no matter the material circumstances. Paul’s saying “I can face wealth, poverty, and everything in between and still serve and please Jesus Christ, because he gives me the power to do so no matter what’s going on around me. So this verse is not so much a motivational pep talk telling you that you can chase down your dreams and desires with God’s help, it is a comforting exhortation that you can please Christ and concern yourself with his will in all situations as his Spirit strengthens you for ministry.

If you want to be content, be satisfied with Jesus Christ. Then, by his grace, you will be able to do all that he calls you to do. You won’t be overly preoccupied with temporal matters. Your eyes will be fixed upon him and what he’s doing in this world. You will be able to say with the songwriter: "You can have all this world; give me Jesus." And I can do anything he calls me to do through him.

Paul was declaring that he was content with his life, regardless of his outward circumstances. He chose to rejoice in the Lord, instead of mourning over his lack of material wealth, personal comfort, or even his happiness. He was content, self-sufficient, in that his life was not dictated by outward circumstances; a life lived completely detached from circumstances; being satisfied with one’s lot in life. Paul didn’t have a "why me" or even a "poor me," attitude. He was not angry or bitter, he had no resentment toward God because of his current situation. Even while sitting in a Roman prison, on death row, Paul was completely at peace, fully content in the Lord.

I'd like to draw your attention to Paul's choice of words at the end of verse 12, "...I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need."

Paul reveals he had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself. This was not a knee jerk reaction or attitude he had developed overnight. Clearly, this took some time and effort through prayer and meditation.

Strength in the Lord and genuine contentment are not necessarily easy to obtain. Paul doesn’t say that he is enjoying every circumstance he faced, only that he had learned to be content. He realized his life was in the hands of God, His Creator and the Lord was fully aware of his situation. Reaching a place of contentment in Christ requires prayer, patience, and perseverance. It is all too easy to become angry, discouraged or bitter, when faced with major difficulty. We often seek the Lord to remove the trial or burden immediately rather than seeking any value in our trial. I don’t enjoy difficulties and burdens, but I do want to learn contentment in the Lord. Those who learn contentment have found the secret to spiritual joy and abundance in Christ.

The Apostle Paul said to us, "You name it; I’ve faced it." He knew what it was to be abased, to live humbly with meager supply. He knew what it was to abound, to live a life filled with prosperity and abundance. He had experienced fullness physically, and he had also experienced seasons of hunger. He had known great abundance and there were times when he had suffered great need. 

And in each of these lessons, learned by Paul, it had caused him to rely upon the Lord. He had lived between the spectrum's of human existence. As he walked by faith, facing situations where he was forced to totally rely on Christ, he came to know the Lord more intimately. In other words, Paul had been through the "school of hard knocks," and his spiritual life had significantly improved because of it. 

In life, storms often hit us suddenly, and without warning. I know this past year, my family has faced a number of unexpected storms. Some other storms offer us time for preparation and others take us entirely by surprise. There are days when the sun shines and there are days when the clouds open and the bursting rains pour. Each of those seasons in life have the potential to grow and mature our faith. When we learn to totally depend upon Christ, we are being conformed to His image. Seek the value in every trial as you rely on the Lord to see you through them.

Through it all, Christ had been faithful to provide me with exactly what I needed to endure each season in my life. And, several times, much to my surprise, I have yet to face a trial that I could not endure through the help of the Lord. Christ has equipped me to endure every one of those seasons of hunger and suffering. When I had reached the end of myself, the Lord was always there to meet my need.

I believe, this is exactly what the Apostle Paul is teaching us here in this extremely powerful verse. 

While this is a favorite verse of many, I am confident in saying that it is often quoted out of context. I believe that all too few realize, that it is centered on trials and suffering. I want to be clear here, this verse does not offer a blank check of grace to provide for any and every desire we have. It declares that the Lord’s grace will always be sufficient to endure whatever trial we face.

I cannot expect that the Lord to provide the strength I need to finish a marathon in record time without a lot of training and preparation. Nor can I expect that the Lord will continually fill my bank account while making foolish decisions regarding my finances. 

As your pastor, I cannot expect the Lord to work through me as I preach to you, if I have not spent time in prayer and preparation. I can however, expect the Lord to provide the grace I need to endure the storms and trials of life. I can expect Him to teach me patience and contentment when I face great difficulties in life. I can endure whatever comes my way with Christ by my side!

More than just a favorite verse of many Christians, more than a mantra, this is a wonderful passage of hope and assurance, and yet it is also very convicting. On a scale of one to ten, with one lacking contentment and ten being fully content, where would our lives fall? I would like to think that I would rank at least a seven, but I am not absolutely certain. Because it seems our flesh is never satisfied. 

We are more than willing to accept the abundance of His blessings, but we shun the difficulties and trials, which He has prepared to shape our lives, to prepare us for the ultimate glory of the future. I want for all of us to reach a place of genuine contentment in Christ. 

If you are in Christ, rejoice for the blessing and provision he gives. If you are yet unsaved, I urge you to come to Him in faith and repentance to the point of salvation!

Beloved, Christ alone is sufficient, He is enough! If we have a relationship with Christ, we are greatly blessed with everything that we need to endure all things.

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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