Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Does it surprise you that Paul wrote today’s passage when he was in prison? He didn’t know what his future held—whether he’d be freed or punished or killed—but he had learned to be content in all circumstances, good or bad. How many of us can make that claim?
It’s not uncommon to feel discontentment when we cannot control our situation. And as long as our satisfaction depends on whether certain things work out, circumstances will continue to steal our peace. Paul was not saying that we’ll never experience anxiety or frustration again; rather, what matters is how we respond when those feelings grip us.
This is something Paul had to learn. He endured tremendous suffering, from shipwrecks and hunger to unjust imprisonment and beatings (. He knew as well as anyone that situations can be painful and seemingly hopeless. But he finally discovered that true contentment came from Jesus, not the situation he found himself in.
2 Corinthians 11:24-30 ‘ Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.”
How do you respond when circumstances are out of your control?
Paul chose to give his anxieties to Jesus in exchange for peace that “surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7). That same peace is available to you and me.
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Used by Permission