“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
There once was a man named Paul. He was kind of popular in the Bible. We first heard about him when he was killing Christians (Acts 8+9), but we last heard about him when he was saving them.
He also wrote a lot of the New Testament, so he’s kind of a big deal.
Paul started a church in the city of Philippi, which was inhabited mainly by retired Roman soldiers. The Philippians became a group close to Pauls’ heart, and his biggest supporters throughout his ministry. When Paul was imprisoned by the Romans he wrote the book of Philippians, which was really a letter. It was a letter of encouragement and affection for his friends in Phillipi.
He responds to their concerns about his jailing stating, “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last, you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.” (Philippians 4:10 NIV)
Paul continues: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. ” (Philippians 4:11 NIV) Hold up. Let’s read that again: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
Paul was stating, while in prison, that he was content. Human nature naturally thinks, “But he was in jail, how was he content? Wasn’t he worried they might put him to death? Wasn’t he worried he hadn’t accomplished all that God had wanted him to yet? But Paul learned to be content, regardless what was going on around him.
Key factor: Paul didn’t become content with life overnight – he LEARNED to be content. This is something we must meditate on, pray about, and dive into each day. It’s an upward battle, but lucky for us, God is cheering us on from the top! Learning to be content is key in fighting the lie of comparison.
When we can learn to be content with what God has not only put in front of us but filled us with, we can easily dodge the trap that is comparison. When we come to terms with who we are and how He created us, we can sidestep feelings of comparison as easy as we would a puddle on the ground.
How Can We Learn To Be Content?
Paul continues in Philippians 4:12-13: “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.I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
But how can we get this strength? Paul writes in the previous chapter, Philippians 3:13-14, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Thinking futuristic is good when we are heaven-minded, but if we are merely desiring worldly things, like a new job title, or a new house, it’s easy to get stuck in a wicked trap of desire. Like Paul encourages, we can fight the lie of comparison by fighting the words of the world. By stepping out in faith, and following Gods calling. By leaving behind all worldly motivations, and striving forward to advance one thing: the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Do you struggle with being content? What is one thing you are struggling with being content with? Is it your relationship status, your job title, your appearance, or your bank account? Write down the main things you struggle with – how are they causing you to fall into the trap of comparison?