By: Dylan Gray
What’s up, everyone! I’d like to share a couple of verses with you that I came across this week while doing some of my devotions. In Philippians 4:11, Paul says, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Growing up I was always looking forward to the future and college where life would be perceivably better. When I got to college, I looked at my life in the future again. I couldn’t wait to be independent and work after I graduated. It seemed so nice in my imaginary future and I couldn’t wait to get there.
There was a common theme that surrounded my outlook in both of those periods of my life; that was the discontentment that I was feeling about my present state. I was missing a purpose. I looked to the future where I thought I would find it, but all it did was make me even more unsatisfied with my current state. I wasn’t taking my situation and working it for God’s glory. I was stuck on myself and my insecurities. I was thinking, “I don’t like where I am so I’ll just make a plan to leave.” I would think about how much I disliked where I was and I refused to change my perspective on life.
That’s not how the Bible conveys the life of somebody who has Christ in their hearts. In Philippians 4:12, Paul says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to have an abundance. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need.” That sounds like a man who lives as if there is no tomorrow. He takes every moment and every situation, whether he likes it or not, and is not phased by what is happening around him. It doesn’t matter what’s happening around you. What matters is what is happening inside you. Paul latched on to that secret and he kept it inside him.
That secret is in Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Paul had a relationship with Jesus so strong that no matter what happened he would not move from the rock that he planted himself on. He tells us about this faith and assurance he has in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, (39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I don’t know about you, but I would sure like to have that type of relationship. God is with us no matter where we are and right now things are hard. We are stuck at home. We can’t go and experience things the way we used to, but we can still be content. As I was comparing our situations to Paul’s, I realized he did most of his ministry while he was in prison or on house arrest. Under quarantine, if you will. This made me realize even though we are all spread apart we still have three things: a community that we are a part of (PUC Students, Faculty and Staff), Jesus by our side every step that we take in the new challenge we are facing, and the plan that God has for us even if we can’t see it. We just have to have the mindset that lets God lead us and provides that contentment that is available to everyone.
As we continue, I want to challenge all of us to let God take us where we need to be, not just where we want to be. Along that journey, hold on to the promise that you can do all things with Christ who gives you strength. As you go don’t worry because “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)