It’s easy to be content and at peace when things are going well, but what about when things seem to be falling apart? Paul said: ‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances’ (NIV). The Greek word for content actually translates as self-sufficient. This would have resonated with the culture of the time as self-sufficiency was a key theme of the Stoic philosophy. This was all about being independent, having self-control, and being able to be rational. Those reading Paul’s letter would probably have been familiar with the principles of Stoicism. But here, Paul is talking about ‘God-sufficiency’ rather than self-sufficiency. When we have become a Christian, we’re a new person. We have Christ in us. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote: ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20 NIV). With Christ living in us, being self-sufficient is actually being God-sufficient. When we recognise that in God we have everything we need, we too can be content whatever our circumstances. That requires us to fully trust God. If we don’t trust Him, when our situations get hard we’ll doubt, fear, and become discouraged – the opposite of being content with our situation. When we trust Him, we’ll rest in the knowledge that He’s working for our good, He still loves us, His strength can help us through this time. We’ll know that His promise to provide for our every need is true (have a look at Philippians 4:19). We’ll no longer be comparing our situations with others, because we’ll be content to rely on God.
Choose one area of your life (however big or small) and make a commitment today to hand it over to God and fully rely on Him.
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