Paul is speaking to the Christian community when he refers to this secret in Philippians 4:11-12:
“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.”
To be content in any and every situation is to be at peace in every situation. As he matured in his faith, Paul came to understand that with God’s help he could be completely satisfied “whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Paul knew that Jesus reigned whatever the circumstances. Like Paul, you can experience the same contentment independent of your external circumstances.
Note that Paul learned to be content. It took time and didn’t happen quickly. Paul’s learning was rooted in the challenges of real life, not in a training seminar or between the covers of a book.
Paul’s life of faith led the way to his learning the secret. In fact, Paul was in chains in a Roman prison when he wrote these verses in Philippians 4.
In the next verse, Philippians 4:13, Paul declares, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
The secret of being content is not a program, or a philosophy, and it has nothing to do with your material possessions. The secret is him.
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can … through him.” The “I” and the “him” are linked together, and this is the key: the Person of Jesus Christ was Paul’s secret of being content.
The secret is to trust every circumstance to Jesus—to know his ways and to have confidence in his grace. Circumstances change, but God doesn’t. Jesus will always take care of his people. Keep him at the center of your life whether living in plenty or in want.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:26, Jesus says:
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Years later, Paul added in Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
With Jesus’ help you can be content in every season of life.
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