This week Jimmy wrapped up our series, To The Philippians, with a message on living in contentment. Be sure and dig deeper into the last chapter of this amazing book and unpack what it means to “be content whatever the circumstance.”
3 WAYS TO APPLY THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE:
- 1. Be content in your relationship with God // Start every morning spending time with God and thanking Him for His provision in your life.
- 2. Be content in your giving // Every time you sow into someone’s life, there is a reward for you in heaven.
- 3. Be content in your relationships with others // If you’re feeling frustrated with the people around you, it may be you and not them. Check your heart and ask God to help you.
SCRIPTURE FOCUS: Living in Contentment// Philippians 4:10 – 23
One of the primary reasons for Paul writing this book was to express gratitude for the Philippians’ generous financial gift. Paul concluded the book with this word of thanks, but also used the occasion as an opportunity to train them, and ultimately us, in maintaining a godly perspective toward finances by addressing the holy tension of being thankful, learning to live in contentment, giving generously to others, yet also being willing to express our own needs, and ultimately, to trust God entirely.
- “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord … it was good of you to share in my troubles.” // First and foremost, Paul models thankfulness. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 shows us that the Philippian church experienced deep poverty, or troubles, yet still freely gave to Paul at every opportunity. As we see in verses 15 and 16, at times they were the only church who gave. Church is about partnership together, not just in our abundance, but more often in our lack. We give time though we are busy; we give money though we are in need. This knits our hearts together and should always be expressed in deep gratitude.
- “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance.” // Paul was thankful for the abundant gift, but he was also content in his need. At times he had plenty and at times he was hungry, but he was always content. This was a trait that Paul had to learn. None of us are born content; instead, we have to learn to find contentment in the person of Jesus – not the things of this world. The implication of this verse is that at times we will be hard pressed financially. This is not a sign that God has abandoned us. Instead, it is an opportunity to press into Jesus in a new way and find His strength.
- We live in a materialistic culture. The American church today much more closely resembles the Corinthian church than it does the Philippian church. We can easily fall into the materialism of our culture if we aren’t careful – the entire advertising industry exists for the purpose of making us discontent. We need to follow Paul’s example and strive to learn the secret of contentment.
- “What I desire is that more may be credited to your account.” // Paul ends by reminding the Philippians that the purpose of giving is not for his sake, but for theirs. He was taken care of, he had more than enough, but by giving they were able to experience the grace of God in a fresh way. There is a heavenly reward as we give, illustrated by this picture of a heavenly investment account that builds as we sacrificially give on earth.
Giving aligns our heart. God doesn’t need our money. He can provide the money that His servants need, with or without us. We are the ones who need to give for our own sake. As we do so, His promise is to meet our needs according to His riches. The best earthly investment holds no comparison to what is offered here – an eternal investment, guaranteed by the King of all creation.
In Matthew 6:21, we read the words of Jesus, reminding us that, “where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.” In Matthew 6:33, He challenged us, “to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” God is after our heart, and He uses our finances to get there.
Contentment is an expression of faith.
When we live for Jesus and we trust God entirely, Paul’s example becomes normal. But when we live according to the greed and materialism in the world we will always be pulled a different direction. Paul shared his example to provide us an opportunity to realign our hearts, and this is something I believe we need more urgently now than the original audience of this letter ever did.
In the end, all of this boils down to these last few verses: Glorifying God (verse 20), loving one another as brothers and sisters (verses 21-22) and experiencing the grace of God (verse 23). Let’s resolve to follow the examples of godly men and women before us. Let’s resolve to love one another with the sacrificial love of Jesus, to press into the grace of God that works within us and choose to then work out the fullness of our salvation. Finally, let’s resolve, once and for all, that for us To Live is Christ.
By Jimmy Seibert