“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. I can do everything through [Jesus] who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13, NIV Translation
What does “Having a good day” mean to you? Think about this question for a moment. In our fast-moving day to day world with so many amenities at our disposal, we may have a somewhat distorted expectation for defining contentment.
The writer of the passage in Philippians, the apostle Paul definitely had a realistic and broad understanding of what it means to have a good day, or bad day, depending on the circumstances. Before his Damascus road experience when he encountered Jesus, Paul was a Roman citizen and Pharisee, well respected and enjoyed a high leadership role within the Roman government. After Jesus met him and transformed his life, Paul, as a Christian often found himself in prison, fighting the establishment, or ship-wrecked when on a mission for Christ. Most Bible scholars believe that Paul ultimately died a martyr for his faith by decapitation. This was no doubt the ultimate bad day for Paul, or was it?
In our current culture, Christians often find ourselves at the center of either joining forces with the “everything is acceptable” movement or being at odds with what feels like the masses. A popular phrase today is “Find your true north.” Actually, I do not disagree with this philosophy as a Christian because Jesus is my True North. Jesus is my Compass in all circumstances, not the other way around. In other words, do your circumstances control where you find contentment or is your contentment rooted in Jesus Christ, the Rock of Ages Who never waivers or changes no matter what the circumstances or culture climate?
Friend, while there are many metaphors we could use to think about godly contentment, I would like to challenge you to give prayerful consideration to the question above, what does “having a good day mean to you?” If your answer is guided by your circumstances, then contentment will always fluctuate, depending on which way the wind is blowing. If Jesus is where you are grounded, then like the apostle Paul, you will have discovered “the secret of being content in any and every situation…”