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The Secret...

“Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David” (Isaiah 55:1-3).

-What do these verses personally mean to you?

Paul says that he has learned the “secret of being content.” "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” (Philippians 4:12).

-What do you think was Paul’s “secret of being content?” Philippians 4:13 gives us a clue to part of the “secret.”

Paul’s contentment was not dependent on his circumstances. He had been in some incredibly tough times, yet still had joy. In fact, when he wrote this passage, he was in prison. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, we see more difficulties and stress than nearly any other person ever endured, and yet, Paul is able to say he is “content.”

I want to suggest that there are three answers to this secret of contentment. [1] In Philippians 4:13, he tells us the first part of the answer. Every day, Paul totally relied on the Lord for the strength to face whatever came his way. He knew that “apart from God he could do nothing” (John 15:5). [2] The second part of the secret is woven throughout Philippians; he continually gave thanks and rejoiced in whatever God brought into His life (Philippians 4:4-7). He said that the act of rejoicing is a safeguard to us (Philippians 3:1). [3] Finally Paul had surrendered everything in his life to God and considered all personal riches, accomplishments, titles, and profits as rubbish compared to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7-11). He lived his life completely for the glory of God and not for his own personal gain. He knew that His true joy and satisfaction came from knowing the riches of the love of Christ. This is why he prayed for the believers in Ephesus to know the depth of God’s love so that they could be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

-Are there any areas of your life where you're not experiencing joy? How is the Holy Spirit personally inviting you to learn from the apostle Paul?

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