“I am not saying this because I am in need, for 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, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”-{Phil 4:11-13}

Paul in prison received a gift from the poor believers…and writes to thank them, He has just said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens{infuses} me.” Grammatically it is a continuous empowering through the Lord Jesus. Strengthened to be “content”with little or much. Possessions or lack do not control his contentment but Christ’s strengthening him to be content is the secret! Christ Himself!

The key to contentment is a Person, The Lord Jesus! Whether he had or did not have, he had learned that Christ was sufficient for him, to satisfy him, strengthen him to be content irrespective of his circumstance whether he had little or much. He alone was Enough! Paul had ‘learned to be content,’ he had gone through some horrific circumstances, suffering, and as well as seeing people come to the LORD, through it all he had learned whatever the circumstances, be they pleasant, unpleasant, he had learned contentment, to be satisfied.

What was the key? For when he wrote these words he was in prison! The key was Jesus Christ! Listen to Paul’s describing to the Philippians  his “secret,”- “… 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. Strong’s defines it as,

  1. “sufficient for one’s self, strong enough or processing enough to need no aid or support
  2. independent of external circumstances
  3. contented with one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest.”

Wiersbe adds that…

The word “content” actually means “contained.” It is a description of the man whose resources are within him (Ed:What are those resources? = the Spirit of Christ and the Word of Christ) so that he does not have to depend on substitutes without. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)-{preceptaustin commentaries}

Asaph expresses a similar thought asking…

Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:25-26)

   Paul speaks of his personal experience of being “… content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” – {Phil 4:11-13}.”The Secret” revealed was found in Jesus Christ! His infusing Paul with the power  to live content, in the state of contentment, satisfied, delighting, pleased, irrespective of his circumstances. He was not tossed to and fro like a wooden cork in the raging waves of an angry sea, tossed  and hurtled around with no sense of security, stability or control, at the mercy of the maddening waves that rise and crash hundreds of feet! Paul had learned to lean in and upon Jesus and derive from Him the power to live contented in any and all circumstances!  

“Paul was self-sufficient because he was Christ-dependent. The word “content,” therefore, in our Hebrew 13:5 passage means more than “satisfied.” It refers to the ability of the Christian dependent upon the Holy Spirit, to be independent of outward circumstances.”-{Wuest}

While we often desire and crave for our circumstances to change to something more favorable and sink low into despair, depression at times, when they are not or are chewed up by anxiety, Paul shows them and us “The Secret” to contentment, it is found in a Person- Jesus Christ who strengthens us. We are back to a Person again, The LORD Jesus Christ! “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens Me.” Note, it does not say, “I can do all things through MY SELF EFFORT …” though we often live like that, “if it’s got to be it’s up to me!” The secret to contentment is found in a right relationship with Jesus Christ!

While we often hear athletes uses this verse Phil 4:19, usually after they have won some big ball game and testifying, yet you seldom hear of an athlete use that verse when they have lost where they can testify to being gracious losers, that life is not defined by winning a ball game but is defined by Him who arose from the dead, king of Kings, Lord of lords, who came to earth bore our sin on the cross, was buried and raised from the dead to prove His sacrifice was accepted on our behalf. Contentment is found in a Person, Jesus Christ! Anything else is just fleeting, and of no eternal substance, if it is not done for His glory, His honor, His fame!

Irrespective of our circumstances, be they pleasant, difficult, whether we are without or have plenty they have been used by God to teach us of Himself and  wean us of relying upon and trusting in ourselves, instead, to increasingly learning to trust Him. Paul’s testimony in 2 Cor 1:9- “indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead…” Paul teach’s us that through our circumstances, that we no longer need to allow them to master us, for Christ is our Master. He is Master over all our circumstances and He infuses us with strength to be in the state of contentment, satisfied, pleased. Dependent upon the LORD, independent of outward  circumstances to satisfy us, for He is “Enough!”  

The secret for contentment in every situation is to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ-as Sovereign, as Savior, and as the Sufficient One.

                 He is the Sovereign One who is  always in control and of all things, my life included! -{Read Isaiah 43:13;Psalm 135:6}

He is the Savior who gave His all for me, who loves me. – {Read Gal 2:20}; 

                      He is the Sufficient One who Supplies all of my needs, including contentment! and I can trust and Rest in Him and His promises -{Read 2 Peter 1:3-4}

 To know Him in these ways and submit to Him and derive all from Him, will  like Paul, I too can  know His contentment, as will you in any and all circumstances!

Do you find it hard to keep “Secret’s?” Here is one “Secret” you can and are commanded to make known!  Christ is the “secret” to contentment and the good news is we don’t have to keep it a “secret,” but we can share the “Secret” with others. Make Him Known, in a world of discontentment, He is the “Secret” to contentment!

Christ is “The Secret” To Contentment!