Blog #12

I have always been drawn  to Paul's paradigm in Philippians when he states, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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". (Phil 4:11-12). The key word here is 'learned'. He learnt how to be content over a long period of time and one look at his resume of trials and tribulations revealed throughout the book of Acts will show the kinds of situations and circumstances in which his contentment was tested and refined. 

I am often content when the sun streams through the window in the morning or it's steak and chips for dinner. But being content with a little as much as with a lot is a different ball game. Quite apart from anything else, the undulation of  going from high to low and back again is enough to unsettle most people. But actually being content with not very much at all is a learnt skill beyond most of us. And yet, Paul would have us imitate him and know this inner contentment for ourselves.

During this time of forced isolation we might feel that much has been taken away and we have very little, either financially, relationally or perhaps emotionally left. Perhaps you feel wrung dry of imagination or resources? Maybe you are anxious about how you will cope in the months ahead? What's more, being separated physically from the church family and not meeeting for services doesn't help either. But Tozer says this: 'If true religion consisted of outward practices, then it could be destroyed by laws forbidding those practices. But if a true worshipper is one who worships God in spirit and in truth, how can laws or jails or abuses or deprivations prevent the spiritual man (or woman) from worhipping? (Root of the Righteous).

How did Paul cope with all his ups and downs, all his deprivations? He had learnt that there is nothing in all the world that can, 'separate us from the love of Christ' and so he worhipped the Lord through thick and thin; he had a clear, unobstructed mental view of Jesus and he kept that view front and centre. Tozer concludes: 'As soon as our normal church going religion is interdicted by government degree or made for the time impossible by circumstances, we can retire to the sanctuary of our own hearts and worship'. Through this time let's be those who learn contentment, even if it is a hard lesson, and keep worshipping Jesus.