Bethesda United Methodist Church
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

 

  THE BIBLE AND BREAKFAST

September 21, 2018

Phillippians 4:1-17

Learning Contentment With Paul
      Notice the way the Spirit led Paul: he directs us to gratitude and what to think about (vss. 6-8) and then moves into contentment. He first tells us to "dwell" on, i.e. to keep the attention directed upon the eight things of v.8.   To gain the full advantage of them we can get aside for times of deliberate reflection upon them, pressing them upon our hearts and minds; otherwise, we will rehearse problems, disappointments, and issues without confidence in the grace of God to work our issues His way in His time.
Meditation and the Miraculous
      David, so frequently pursued by Saul's and other armies, learned to live in contentment by dwelling on what god had done and trusting Him to handle his current crisis. In Psalm 4:1 he remembers what God has done: "Thou hast relieved me (past tense) in my distress" then asks: "Be gracious to me and hear my prayer."  Following this he urges us to do the same: "mediate in your heart upon your bed and be still."  Then he demonstrates his confidence in god alone: "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety" v.8.
Pondering on Problems
     Without thinking the way that the Spirit leads us we are open to being led by another one. When we are grateful and rejoicing in God we come to be at peace.  If we are not focusing on the praiseworthy we are dissatisfied with what we have and are looking for something else.   When people are pressed down in despondency the reason is, usually, discontentment for they do not have something they want and consider they must have for satisfaction even the way out of some current or continuing problem.  Their heavy concern makes the heart bow down in distress.
    The companion of our dissatisfaction is anxiety for we are not at peace when we do not have what we desire.  We may be in idolatry as we focus on how we can resolve the issues ourselves instead of quietly surrendering to God, casting all our cares on Him.  In these circumstances the Devil ruses in for as it has been said, "Satan loves to fish in troubled waters, " when he sees us anxious, troubled, vexed, or discontent he comes to unload more reasons to worry and offers his solutions to us for a way of escape.
     Notice carefully v.6 where we are directed" "Be anxious for nothing;" instead, we are led to pray and give thanks.  Really, anxious for nothing? Were it not possible the lord would not have given this command.  He truly wants to set us free! His desire for us to be released from worry is so strong that He yearns to take our heavy burdens and transfer them to Him in prayer.  No other person has to change, no circumstance must turn to our desired way for God's children to know sweet contentment and peace within us.
Let the Enemy Hit A Wall!
     Is this the kind of faith at work in your prayers?  Unrest, fears, harshness, judgmentalism, and clinging to past hurts are indicators we need to make a quick visit to the throne of grace.  When we follow the prayer pattern in true faith and guide our hearts to focus on all the good listed in v.8 and practice them, v.9, we will have an awesome outcome for the very peace of God which is beyond the mind's way of handling problems and its capacity to vie lasting solutions will, i.e. WILL, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, vss. 7,9.  When God's peace is guarding the enemy will not succeed in casting his temptations baited fish hooks into our souls.  He will test to see if we truly have such peace guarding our hearts but will fail when he hits with Wall of God! The word teaches" "be content with what you have." When God's presence is truly wheat we have in faith then we have every reason to be at peace for He promised:
I will never desert you , nor will I ever forsake you,"
so that we confidently say, "The lord is my Helper,
I will not be afraid. What Shall man do to me" (Heb. 13:5-6 NAS)
     As we step into Godliness we will also walk in greater contentment for as Paul  explained to Timothy the two are companions: "godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6 ESV). As we come to recognize our true weaknesses, even humanity's weaknesses, and begin to believe in and trust God enough to surrender to Him, we arrive at a confidence that He truly is our Lord and will provide all our need despite our unworthiness.  In godliness, we are "in God" and our hopes and confidence are in His love and sovereign power.