Contentment is a Condition of the Heart
Paul was a man who knew the meaning of contentment, but he did not learn it overnight. While in prison, or his rented house at Rome, he wrote these words,
“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 need, I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4: 12-13.
Paul was a wise man when he wrote the above words, but he learned the hard way. He was reared in plenty, but that did not bring contentment: he was zealous in persecuting followers of Jesus during the early church age, but that did not bring contentment. However, God noted his misdirected zeal and knew if converted, Paul could use that transformed zeal for His honor.
Other than Jesus, perhaps no one on earth suffered more than Paul, but his suffering was not in vain. While a missionary he was able to start several churches, and visited them and wrote letters to discipline and admonish them. Then while a prisoner, he had his hired house and a guard to see that he did not escape. He continued to witness to those who cared for him and though we do not have a record of Paul’s standing before Caesar; God promised that he would; so we know he did.
In spite of all Paul’s hardships and suffering, as he looked back over them, he could truthfully state that whatever his state he could feel content. I have not completely reached that stage in my life but believe my Father is tutoring me in the school of adversity to help me better learn that lesson. Recently a good friend said she believed God is leaving me on earth because I bless the lives of others. I trust my life has some influence for good on some lives, but as I told her, I believe God is leaving me here to refine my life and make it more like that of Jesus.
Father, Thank You for Your loving patience with Your children. In spite of our weaknesses You continue to love and discipline us. Jesus made our relationship with You possible and we pray and thank You in His Name. Amen.