This passage of Scripture is one of the most quoted and most misinterpreted sections of Scripture. The secret of the Christian life is learning how to live it out regardless of our circumstances.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Paul’s experience teaches three truths for peace in the midst of trials:
- Contentment is not about what you own, but what owns you. (4:11)
- Contentment frees us to show others joy in Christ. (4:10)
- We must not become so comfortable with a certain lifestyle that we would not know what to do if we lost it.
- Adaptability comes from a proper perspective of the temporal and the eternal.
- We can accomplish all that God wants through the strength God provides.
We ultimately succeed when we achieve contentment.