Sermon Audio – Paul’s Prescription for Contentment (Philippians 4:4-13)
Audio recording of my sermon at Bellevue Church of Christ from Sunday Morning, August 14, 2016.
The lesson was entitled, Paul’s Prescription for Contentment, and was a study of Philippians 4:4-13.
Most of us want to be happy and content in our lives, but figuring out how to find these things can be a real struggle. One of the great lies of the world (Satan), and our human nature, is that happiness and contentment can only be found somewhere other than the circumstances where we are right now. This can lead us to constantly play the “I’ll be happy when…” game in our endless, and fruitless, pursuit of happiness and contentment.
See if this sounds familiar: I’ll be happy when I…get a new job, buy a new house, buy a new car, have more money, get married, start a family, get healthier, lose weight, etc. For all of us that play this game, we know that the chase just leads to frustration. We may achieve what we are seeking but then find that it doesn’t bring happiness or contentment, and then we begin to chase something else. This cycle can be endless, because it is built upon a lie and a belief in ourselves rather than in God.
In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul says this about contentment:
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
How is it that Paul, who had been persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked (II Cor 11:16-29) throughout his ministry, and is writing this letter while incarcerated in Rome (Philippians 1:12-14), can say that he has learned to “be content” in “any and every circumstance?” Even though this goes completely against the message of the world, Paul says it is possible because of Christ “who strengthens me.”
But how do we learn this same type of contentment, when it flys in the face of our human nature? Paul actually gives us the Prescription earlier in the same chapter in verses 4 through 9. This morning let’s consider these things that Paul instructed to the Philippian Christians:
P____________________________________________ (v. 4)
P____________________________________________ (v. 5)
P____________________________________________ (vv. 6-7)
P____________________________________________ (vv. 8-9)