"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. "
A couple of weeks ago, when my study was ending (so I thought) the meaning of these verses became clearer to me as I studied. I felt like I understood what Paul was saying about being content...
But then real life hit and I found myself in a situation where I had to trust God daily to provide for me. I realised at that point that my contentment was dependent on how comfortable I was. My attitude during this trial revealed to me that I hadn't learned the secret that Paul had learned of being content.
God kept bringing me back to these verses.. what is the secret? Why am I not trusting God? Why isn't my situation changing? What can I do to bring back a more comfortable existence? Has God forgotten me? Why is he not changing my circumstances? These are all the thoughts I was battling with.
As I read these verses over and over it it became clearer to me that I was more focused on the part of the verse that says "I can do all things through him who gives me strength.' Specifically I was more focused on the "I can do." I was looking at what I could do do get myself out of the situation I found myself in. I was trying to "help" God figure out a solution and then getting upset when he didn't deliver like I though he should.
The "do everything" in verse 13 refers back to the "being content in any and every situation" in verse 12. " I can be content in every situation through him who gives me strength."
I got it!! The doing is really being. Just stand still and be content in the situation God has me! Trust him to take care of me. Don't try to do, just be. Be content.
God brought me to the end of Philippians and gave me an examination. I want to say I passed with flying colours but thankfully God gives more grace and he is a patient God...it was an open book test and he held my hand through the whole thing. He grew me though this situation and brought me to a different place in my walk with him.
I know it doesn't end there... there will be other trials but I pray that I will continue to remember the being before the doing!
The study with Katie is done but I am still in Philippians, right now reading Be Joyful (Philippians): Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy (The BE Series Commentary) by Warren W. Wiersbe.
I think Philippians has become my favourite book in the Bible!