#212 – THE SECRET TO CONTENTMENT (13/10/20)
Are you content? What do you think that one needs in order to be content?
Everyone wants to be content. To be content is to be at peace. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been considering how we are to enjoy the peace of God through right praying, right thinking and right living (See Philippians 4:4-9). Many think that contentment come from having all that one needs materially, relationally, having good health etc.
However, as we’ve seen previously and is reiterated here, true peace and contentment comes from being rightly related to God. Paul writes,
‘I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ (Philippians 4:11-14)
Paul has learned the ‘secret of being content’. God’s answer to peace is not the obvious, common-sense answer - it’s a ‘secret’ that needs to be learned. The secret is, ‘I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ Knowing Jesus and being empowered by the presence of Jesus, by the Spirit is the secret. He gives peace when we have more than we need and when we don’t have enough of what we need.
The impartation of God’s strength by the Spirit enables us to have contentment in all circumstances. This is the secret. The reality is, you can only cope with even having too much if we know this secret. If God has blessed you with wealth, you will only be able to enjoy it, use it well, and be at peace if you are in a close prayerful relationship with Jesus. In response, let’s all ask for the strength of the Spirit so as to experience contentment in whatever circumstances we find ourselves right now. Perhaps you might want to meditate and pray from this prayer:
‘I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.’ (Ephesians 3:16-17)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - PARTNERSHIP IN GIVING
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you bought something in the past that turned out to be a complete waste of money?
Introduction - please share in your group
This week we finish our time in the book of Philippians by looking at Paul’s thankfulness to the Philippian Church for their generous gift to him in prison.
The secret to contentment
Paul shares a very important principle -‘secret’ in regard to contentment. He writes,
‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ (Philippians 4:11-13)
Following Jesus involves ups and downs in regard to income and what we would envisage as the ideal life. In a world that medicates on shopping and is constantly striving to get more, we must learn the secret of being content through trust and the strength that the Spirit provides.
Partnership in giving
‘Partnership’ (Koinonia) translated ‘share’ in our text today is a major theme in this book. Paul writes,
‘Yet it was good of you to share (partner) in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared (partner) with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.’ (Philippians 4:14-15)
Christian ‘fellowship’ (a word often used for koinonia) involves generosity to our local church and brothers and sisters whom we know to be in need. For us at CCP, this also involves giving to New Ground the family of church that we are a part of.
In the context of Philippians 4:10-23, giving is described as worship with the attendant promise of provision. We read,
‘…the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:18-19)
Like Paul, I’d like to thank you, on behalf of the eldership team and trustees of CCP, for you generous and faithful giving.
Discuss in your group
(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)
1. Please read Philippians 4:12-13. What, according to Paul, is the secret to contentment?
2. Have you ever had a period of need when you have had to apply this principle?
3. What have been the major lessons that you have learned about giving during your Christian life?
4. What does God promise in 4:19 to those who will give as worship?
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?
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