I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. ~Philippians 4:12
A few years ago, I had a leaky showerhead in my bathroom. I uncovered that the problem was a part behind the handle. At first, I was uncertain whether to call a plumber or to attempt to do it myself. I found how to deal with this problem on Youtube and was able to fix this problem for just the cost of the part. At the moment I was done, I thought, “I know how to fix this.” Paul spoke of knowing about to be content in every situation in life.
We see the education.
The first thing we learn about contentment is that it is a learning process. Paul said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am….” He said, “I am instructed.” He discovered that there is a learning process. He had to go through seasons of having and not having. He learned to appreciate. He learned how to allocate. He learned how to be frugal and not wasteful. He learned to not allow his appetite to get the best of him. On one extreme, we must be careful that hardships don’t embitter us. On the other, we must be careful that we do not become presumptuous during good times.
We see the experience.
“I know both how to be abased.” This means to accept a place of lower rank. He learned not to have overly-high expectations. He learned that, sometimes in life, we have to give up. He learned that second place is not a bad thing. He learned that sometimes the check is not in the mail! Then, he learned how to abound. He rejoiced in good times, but knew it would be for a limited period. He learned that times of prosperity are like gravity: what goes up has to come down. He learned to appreciate and live contently in any extreme of life.
We see the empowerment.
For most of us who are undisciplined in our appetites and lifestyles, what Paul lived is contrary to how we see life. We are rosy when we are abounding, but very grumpy and complaining when there is need. How do we live a life of contentment? Through Christ! Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Christ gives me the strength, in any extreme, to be content. His strength gives me wisdom, will power, and a way. Paul committed his every situation to the Lord and saw the power of Christ transform him from being human to being heavenly. Instead of being carnal, he learned what it meant to be a Christian.
We see the enjoyment.
He learned contentment. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” He enjoyed all circumstances he was subjected to. He never saw having less being beneath his dignity. He enjoyed trusting God for his needs. He enjoyed the blessing of receiving a special offering that came at the right time. He enjoyed praying down manna from Heaven. He enjoyed good times and bad times. Can you enjoy the less as well as the more? Can you enjoy not having what other people have? Can you enjoy being passed up? Can you enjoy losing? Can you enjoy poverty? Can you enjoy having to work? Paul mastered the virtue of contentment!
Like Paul, do you know how?
Have a contented God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 24-25