The last, and most crucial key for experiencing the kind of contentment that God desires for us is found here with Paul’s words: “I have learned the Secret of being content in any and every situation…”
What’s the secret to that secret?
Paul goes on to say that being content doesn’t have anything to do with being hungry or being well fell. It doesn’t matter for Paul whether he is living in Plenty or in Poverty. The secret to contentment is found in the one in whom Paul places all of his trust.
“I can do ALL THINGS,” Paul says, “through HIM who gives me strength.”
Paul says ALL THINGS because Christ was Paul’s all consuming passion. His was a life completely consecrated to the cause of Christ and there wasn’t an ounce of Paul, or a moment of his existence, that wasn’t given over to the work of God.
This verse doesn’t imply that Christ will do for us whatever we want. By no means. There are things that we desire that offend Christ. We get consumed with petty, worldly ambitions. We get sidetracked with personal projects. Christ isn’t going to empower us for such things.
But when we are focussed on the work Christ has for us, whether great or small, we find that we have an infinite source of strength to accomplish his will.
Let me show you something really cool here…When we are doing Christ’s work, through Christ’s power, it brings Christ ALL the Glory!
Paul doesn’t say, “I can do some things through him.” He says ALL THINGS!
The key to being able to do ALL things, is to do ALL things for Christ!
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Let me ask you, What parts of your life are you finding the most dissatisfaction? Where are you struggling with being the least content? Is it at work? Is it in a relationship? Is it with your health, or through the struggle that someone close to you is going through?
Do you need to give that part or your life, that area of your existence to God? Say, “Lord, even this I’m going to give to you so that it will bring you glory. I’m going to give you the pain. I’m going to give you the joy. I’m going to give you the credit. I’m going to give you the glory. I’m going to give you my best. I’m even going to give you my weakness so you can prove your strength and faithfulness”
Your Christianity isn’t encapsulated in your church attendance. It’s not confined to your devotional time. Your faith seeks to direct the entirety of your life.
Jesus came to save all of you, not just some of you. The MORE of you that you offer fully to Christ, the more Contentment you are going to experience.
The only way to say as Paul did, “I can do all things THROUGH Christ who gives me strength” is to do ALL things FOR Christ who gives you strength.
You might be thinking, how in the world do I give Jesus all that is going on in my life? How do I give him those things that I’m involved in that aren’t under my control? How do I give him those things that I’m ashamed of? How do I hand over those things to him that I’m trying desperately to hold on to?
Your faith in Christ is a lifelong exercise in practicing absolute trust in God, in spite of your circumstances.
Some of our great hymn writers knew what it meant to rejoice in God, thank God through prayer, and live with great contentment while enduring grave situations. One such hymn writer is Henry Smith.
Smith gave us that well-known chorus, “Give Thanks.” In 1978, he returned from seminary to work in his home church as a layperson. He took on odd jobs to support himself because his career choices were limited by a degenerative eye disease. He eventually lost his sight, but was nonetheless filled with gratitude for God’s unfailing love. One Sunday that year, when his pastor quoted 2 Corinthians 8:9, Henry decided to write a song about it. He said, “I remember being extremely thankful.” Now, because a man chose to be thankful for his life rather than bitter for his loss, we can lift our voices in worship and sing, “Let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich, because of what the Lord has done for us! Give thanks.”
When we trust Christ absolutely, there is absolutely nothing that he can’t get us through.