From “Bible Studies for Life” curriculum, LifeWay
Jay Sanders, pastor
Towaliga Baptist Church, Jackson
Phil. 4:13 was not written primarily for athletes. I learned this the hard way at a very young age.
For me, doing all things through Christ meant that I would make my school’s basketball team. It meant that I would get a blackbelt in karate after just a few practices. And it meant that I would be a master guitar player with no practice at all.
I can do all things, right?
God is not a liar. When I got cut and didn’t turn out to be the athlete that I hoped I would, God was not breaking a covenant with me. I was simply misunderstanding his word. Phil. 4:13 has little to nothing to do with athletic achievements. It has everything to do with contentment.
Christ gives me the strength to delight in Him, even when I don’t make the team.
Christ gives me the strength to live for His glory, even when money is low.
Christ gives me the strength to remain faithful to Him, even when I have more money than I really need.
Contentment is the real message of Phil. 4:10-20. But how do we get it? Is it something that we find from within. Is there a podcast we can listen to that will give us the secret? There has to be some technique to help us master the art of contentment, right?
The secret to contentment
The secret to contentment is Christ. More specifically, trusting Christ is the key to contentment. When I trust that Jesus really will supply every need that I have, I will be content. I can trust that those things that I want but do not have must not be good for me.
But when I constantly chase after more and more of what I want, my flesh will begin to tell me that Christ is not enough. It will tell me that what I really need is Christ plus that new car or Christ plus the bigger house. If we search for contentment in more stuff, we’ll never find it. If we search for it in more Christ, we will be satisfied (Matt. 5:6).
When my dad was young, he worked on a farm. One hot day, he noticed a really nice sports car driving by. The top was down and the driver’s hair was blowing through the air. My dad thought to himself, “Man, I wish I was that guy.”
Years later, my dad’s wish was fulfilled. He became the guy with the nice car. One day, after a particularly difficult time at work, he sped home in that treasured car. But he couldn’t seem to outrun the stress. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a young man working on a farm. It was like looking back on his own life. As he watched the young farmer, he thought to himself, “Man, I wish I was that guy.”
The quest for contentment apart from Christ is a vicious cycle.
But the quest for Christ always ends with contentment.