Our Daily Bread -- A Lesson Learned
July 11, 2016
Read: Philippians 4:10-19
Bible in a Year: Psalms 1-3; Acts 17:1-15
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. —Philippians 4:11
Mary was widowed and facing serious health challenges when her daughter invited her to move into the new “granny apartment” attached to her home. Although it would involve leaving friends and the rest of her family many miles away, Mary rejoiced in God’s provision.
Six months into her new life, the initial joy and contentment threatened to slip away as she was tempted to grumble inwardly and doubt whether the move was really God’s perfect plan. She missed her Christian friends, and her new church was too far away to get to independently.
Then she read something that the great 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon had written. “Now contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and it must be cultivated,” he pointed out. “Paul says . . . ‘I have learned to be content,’ as if he didn’t know how at one time.”
Mary concluded that if an ardent evangelist like Paul, confined to prison, abandoned by friends, and facing execution could learn contentment, then so could she.
“I realized that until I could learn this lesson, I wouldn’t enjoy those things God had planned,” she said. “So I confessed my inward grumbling and asked for His forgiveness. Soon after that a newly retired lady asked if I would be her prayer partner, and others offered me a ride to church. My needs for a ‘soul friend’ and greater mobility were wonderfully met.” —Marion Stroud
Are there areas of life where you need to learn contentment? Ask God to help you now.
God doesn’t always change our circumstances, but He will change us.
INSIGHT: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are generally known as the Prison Epistles. Philippians was likely written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment in ad 59-61. This context makes Paul’s declaration of contentment all the more striking. Dennis Moles
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