Tag Archives: Philippians 4:13

The Joy Of Contentment

When I travel to New Orleans, there’s a certain homeless person I like to say hello to. He always makes me smile and he never asks me for anything. He’ll say, “It ain’t gonna cost you nothing to come say hello. I ain’t gonna rob you!” I then walk over and say hello and he puts a smile on my face. Except on a recent trip he called me over and said, “You know I never ask for nothing, but could you go in there and buy me an orange juice and sandwich? I’m about to curl up on my cardboard and I’m hungry.”

When I handed him his dinner, he hugged me and thanked me. He then asked, “You know what I’d change about the world?” My mind began to think of any number of answers. No more homelessness. No more hunger. No more devaluing people. No more selfishness. But before I could decide on an answer, he grabbed my shoulder, looked up at the sky, smiled a big toothless grin, and said, “Absolutely nothing!” He laughed, thanked me again and walked away.

I thought about his answer as I walked back to my hotel. Here’s a man, for whatever reason, is sleeping on a cardboard mat on the streets of downtown New Orleans and is exposed to the elements constantly, and he wouldn’t change a thing. Even though he has absolutely nothing to his name, he has found a way to be content. He’s learned to choose joy instead of bitterness over his situation. It’s a lesson we all could learn.

Paul learned that secret and told us about it in Philippians 4:12. He said, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (NLT). That secret is choosing the joy of contentment with where God has you. That joy gives us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. It takes us from being a victim of life to a victor over our situation. Don’t try to change your world. Change your attitude. The next verse tells us we can. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Photo by Ev on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


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The Secret To Life

To me, one of the verses taken out of context the most is Philippians 4:13. We mainly see athletes with it proudly proclaiming that they can do anything through Christ. I’ve heard people use it when they are taking a test, doing something they don’t want to do and when facing insurmountable odds. It sounds great, and it builds confidence, but what if that wasn’t what Paul was talking about? What if Philippians 4:13 is actually the secret to living a life that isn’t rocked by every storm you face?

If we back up a few verses, that’s exactly what we find that it means. Paul wasn’t telling us that we can do anything like win a game or pass a test. He was telling us that we can be content and confident no matter what we face. We can learn to be self confident through Christ in us to make us equal to whatever life throws at us. We don’t have to live a life where our happiness is dependent on how good things are going or how much money we make or how many things we own. The secret to life is being content no matter what.

How is that possible? You can live that way through Christ. I like how the Amplified version breaks down Philippians 4:13. It says, “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose–I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” You and I are to find our strength, confidence and contentment in Christ. Our ability to fulfill our purpose doesn’t have anything to do with our physical conditions, but rather our spiritual condition in knowing who we are in Christ. That’s the secret to life.

Photo by Jill Heyer on Unsplash


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