SCRIPTURES: Philippians 4:10-13
BOTTOM LINE: In the Meantime … Learn the secret of contentment: Christ IN you, Empowering you.
QUESTION: Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a struggle, adversity, challenge, and just simply not been able to find ANY Peace or Rest or Contentment?
DOWNLOAD: Well, a couple weeks ago we kicked off a Series called In the Meantime and we’re answering this question What do we do When There’s Nothing Else We Can Do? When we find ourselves in a set of circumstances or season of life … and there’s really no way forward and no way out.
What do we do When There’s Nothing Else We Can Do? And our initial temptation is often to RUN … And so at some point … it seems to make it’s way back to God, and It’s God’s Fault right?
And one of the things that has proven helpful to me when I’m in one of those In the Meantime seasons is to remember that the Men & Women who brought us the Bible … especially the story of Jesus … they were not strangers to Adversity and Challenge and these In the Meantime seasons of life.
The Apostle Paul had this affliction in his life … this Thorn … that was Painful, and Humiliating and Debilitating and Permanent … and 3 seasons of his life he prayed, … God, would you take this away. And in the 3rd season of praying, Paul finally heard from God … and God said … NO … and crazy enough, Paul just sort of continued on … he had to deal w/ this THING that was Painful, and Humiliating and Debilitating and Permanent … and yet somehow it did not cause him to divorce his confidence in God.
And I hope that’s what we can discover today … we’re going to build on Paul’s story from last week, and this week he makes this really, really bold statement that I’ve been praying all week I can try to do it justice and really help us get this …
Paul said that even in the midst of the most incredible adversity … there is a way to find contentment!
And I want to set the foundation quickly … Contentment is somehow something inside of us is at peace, even when everything on the outside is going crazy. It’s the ability to stop striving internally, even though things on the outside are out of control. And Paul said, … In Christ, there is an element, there is a way to find and achieve contentment in spite of the fact that we have no control over what’s going on around us.
APPLICATION: So here’s what happened … and this is kinda cool … Paul is under house arrest and they don’t have FB and Instagram, so news traveled a little slower back then … but finally the Christians in Philippi get the news that their guy … the guy who started their church and poured into them … he’s under house arrest in Rome …
So they send him a care package … and well … it takes a while for it to arrive to say the least … so there’s Paul, rotting away just waiting to see what is going to happen … and he gets this care package from his friends in Philippi … and he’s like … Wow … they didn’t forget about me. And so he writes in his letter, … I’m so glad that you renewed your concern for me.
Paul LEARNED to be CONTENT! It wasn’t natural … he learned it! He learned it when he had plenty and when he didn’t have enough. And Paul was initiated into the Cult of Contentment, and ultimately shares that verse many of us know … I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Essentially … here’s what Paul is saying …
- I can’t … He can … He can through me!
- I’m not able … and I’m cool, and I’m strong, and I’m educated and I got it going on and I’ve got a 401K and I’ve got a nice car and I’ve got some friends … BUT … when it comes to this Goliath I’m facing right now, I can’t! It’s beyond me …
- I’m not gonna pretend I can … and I’m not gonna lie and say I can … and I’m not gonna drum up some kind of internal energy and have some cool sayings and create my own Meme’s and all that … I’m just gonna admit it right up front … I can’t Handle This!
BUT … Jesus can! And the reason that I know Jesus can is because He dragged His own Cross up that Hill to Golgatha and died for my sin … and if you can do that on purpose … if you can do that intentionally … then there’s NOTHING that I’m facing that can compare to that!
So Paul says … I can’t … but He can … and most importantly … He Can Through Me!