My wife and I got back from our honeymoon a few days ago. It was an incredible trip where we got to see parts of the world that we had never seen before. We did a Caribbean cruise that went to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Grand Turk. Getting to look out across the ocean and seeing these beautiful islands spoke to God’s magnificence as a creator. However, there was one moment stood out to me, though.
We were in the Dominican Republic, riding the bus back to the ship from our excursion. The bus driver came over the speakers and said, “Do you see that house right there?” We all looked and saw a large house that looked run down. He then said, “That’s not my house.” There was some laughter but what he said next surprised me. “Maybe one day when I’m a millionaire, I could afford that house.” I turned to Ali and said, “Wait, that’s a nice house?” She had the same reaction as me.
I’ve thought about that moment a lot since it happened. It’s truly amazing how our circumstances in life lead us to look at things differently. Ali and I saw a house fit for condemnation and our bus driver saw a mansion. I think that most of us are aware that it’s important to look at our situation in life from different perspectives. Just think about your savings account right now, are you happy with where it is? I’m sure most of us would love for it to be larger. Now imagine how a homeless person would view it. They would salivate to have that kind of money. On the other hand, if Bill Gates pulled up his bank statement and all he had was what we had, Mr. Gates would have a panic attack.
I believe that the key to life is to be content with the situation God has given us. I don’t think we need to be complacent and not strive for better but to always be content in Him. This is what Paul is talking about in Philippians 4.
Most of us can probably quote Philippians 4:13. I don’t think that there’s a verse in the Bible that gets taken out of context more than this one. It reads, “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” People use this verse all the time as a battle cry before they try to accomplish some feat. I’m not going to lie, I roll my eyes so hard when I hear an athlete say this right before their game or race that I’m in danger of a retinal injury.
Phil. 4 is not about God giving us strength to beat someone else in some competition. This chapter is all about being content in Christ, no matter what your circumstance in life is.
“… I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:11-13)
The key to being content in life is to trust in God and lean on His strength. Discontent in life is discontent with what God has given to you. Do you trust that God loves you? Do you trust that He’s going to take care of you and provide for you? Do you trust that He’s powerful enough to see you through any situation life throws at you? Our contentment in life shouldn’t come out of our personal accomplishments, financial security, our children’s success, what we own, etc. The source of our contentment needs to be our faith that God is good and He will provide.
We need to be content with what God has given us. He knows what He’s doing, and He’s always working things together “for the good of those who love Him.” (Rom. 8:28) I really believe that we can measure our faithfulness by our contentment in Christ. Again, contentment and complacency are not the same things. We should always strive to grow in Christ and do better in life. However, it’s not the doing better in life that should bring us joy and security, that needs to come out of trusting our creator. He hasn’t failed yet, and I don’t foresee Him failing anytime soon.