by the Rev. Henry Huenemann
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).
1Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
2I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
3And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
4Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
5Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
10But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
11Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Experience teaches us that outward riches do not produce contentment. And a person who is not content cannot be perfectly happy. The psalmist says, "If riches increase, set not your heart upon them." Christ warns, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth." Solomon says, "Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith." And the psalmist again states, "A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked." Happiness is not a matter of accumulating great wealth. Paul tells us, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." So happiness is a matter of fearing God, and being content with what God has given us. John the Baptist told the Roman soldiers, Be content with your wages. The writer to the Hebrews admonishes, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he (God) hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Paul admonishes, "having food and raiment let us be therewith content." But one thing we must not overlook in our text: Paul says, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Whether he had plenty to eat, or was hungry; whether all his needs were supplied, or whether he suffered want: he was content. And think of all he suffered for the gospel's sake. Did he ever complain? On the contrary, he gloried in tribulation! and was exceeding joyful in it. What a lesson to learn for us all!
Our heavenly Father, grant that we may never have evil thoughts concerning Thee. May we never be dissatisfied with Thy dealings with us. We know that Thou hast loved us with an everlasting love, and that Thou wilt continue to love us. All that Thou sendest us is in mercy given, and must redound to our good. So help us always to be content, and thankful and joyful in Thy service. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Scripture in Devotional: Ps. 62:10; Luke 12:15; Ps. 37:16; 1 Tim. 6:6; Luke 3:14; Heb. 13:15; 1 Tim. 6:8; Phil. 5:11, 12; Rom. 5:3; 2 Cor. 7:4.
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