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.
- Philippians 4:11-12 ESV
Contentment is a lost art in our society. Content? Who can master such a lofty call when the world demands our attention and appreciation off all things new and flashy. And enticing…
The things of this world: the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16) are naturally alluring. They are distracting, and opposing to the Spirit because they are not of God. But as new creations, we have a baseline for contentment. It’s a not-so-secret super strength that is out of this world.
Paul said he learned the secret to contentment. Literally, in any situation to be content. And I can’t help but think the learning came via the Holy Spirit. Sanctification cleanses us from our sin-nature by way of a willing submission to the Spirit and a forsaking of self, of the flesh.
Because the flesh and the Spirit oppose each other, they cannot dwell together. When living in sin and embracing its allure, we grieve the Spirit and miss out on the work of sanctification. The blessing of sanctification:
Dynamite power. Super strength. The not-so-secret secret that enables contentment and abundant life even in the face of worldly lack and personal hardship.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13 ESV
I can. Do all things. Through. Him who. Strengthens me.
This verse is one I learned as a child; its a great Sunday School lesson and fun for kids to flex to. But as we adult in this crazy world, it is easy to forget the somewhat basic truth. I’ve had to be reminded lately, and so I’m sure most of us need to be nudged more regularly than we’d care to admit.
Do all things Face all things Endure all things
dynamis(doo-na-mis) strength, power, and ability. This is the Greek word that gave us dynamite, and it’s God’s power through the Holy Spirit. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
Dynamite power alive in us, sanctifying us, frees us from the constraints of sin in this world. We can do all things through dynamite power. What a thought! What grounds for contentment!
Just as the Armor of God passage teaches us to be strong in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:13), this dynamite might…
Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus to know this power, and I’ve been reminded what a necessary prayer this is for me. Every day. To have the eyes of my heart enlightened to the hope of the gospel, the hope that we are saved in, and to know the dynamite power now residing within.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places... -Ephesians 1:15-20 ESV
To have our eyes enlightened is to have them opened and fixed. And by fixed, I mean on what’s unseen. So often in the Old Testament, the phrase was repeated: they looked, and behold, they saw. This is faith, the intentional transfer of vision from what is seen to what is unseen. And it’s Spirit led.
Beholding the assurances of faith, we partake in the dynamite power of God’s Spirit alive within us. We are free to rejoice, and learn the not-so-secret secret of contentment.