Paul, one of the Apostles and Early Church Fathers, claimed he knew what the secret was. He claimed he could do all things with Christ’s help…and that is the secret. Yet there are more clues within his writing.
First off, he had gotten rid of any negative attitude. Philippians 3:8 “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.” In order to do this, we must take “every thought captive” to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
My mind is the devil’s playground. At least now and then…
I have been reading self-help books and have been in and out of therapy for decades. I know all the cognitive distortions…and I still do them. All-or-nothing thinking- check. Black and white thinking- check. Over-generalization- check. I minimalize the good. I magnify the bad. I blame. I justify, manipulate, and rationalize. These will drive us into depressions of powerlessness.
Paul gives us good advice= to focus on the good.
We must be vigilant and stick with it. We are to look for it everywhere at all times.
What is going well?
Where is God blessing us and those around us?
What beauty in nature surrounds us?
Who radiates Christ from within that we know and can learn from?
Who can we cherish that we have been blessed with in our lives?
And then we are to rejoice “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4-5). We are to get excited and celebrate that Jesus is on His way back. The day draws near when we will be with our Father in heaven for eternity. That is something to be filled with joy over.
We “6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). This flies right up against those cognitive distortions, smack dab in their face. We turn over our troubles and concerns to the One who can help us do things about our lives. We place our trust in the care of our Creator—He knows best and has our best interest at heart.
There is one more thing I noticed nearby. In chapter 3, Paul mentions that he let go of the past: Philippians 3:13-14 HCSB 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
We cannot carry around the regrets of the past and expect to be content. They will wear us out. We must take off everything that hinders us. We have been completely forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ. God no longer remembers our sins. It does no one any good to continue to hang our heads in shame and wallow in guilt and remorse. It only weighs us down and thwarts our ability to walk in the plans God has for us to live peaceful lives.
What is standing In the way of your contentment? It isn’t a who! And Paul says it isn’t a circumstance either! It is our perspective and our concerted effort to focus on the good and hand over the rest to God. We ask for and draw the strength necessary to move forward in the name of Jesus. We are never alone. Let us rejoice.
Until Next TIme~
BTW- Did you notice Paul never mentions that learning to be content is easy? But it is do-able!