Read Philippians 1:1-21 Paul demonstrates his contentment in waiting on the the Lord’s will for his life where ever he is, and in whatever circumstances he finds himself in. This letter was written to the church at Philippi while Paul was under house arrest in Rome(Acts 28:16). It had come to Paul’s attention that the people at Philippi thought that his imprisonment was hindering the spread of the gospel. Paul wrote to tell them, that on the contrary his imprisonment was allowing him to spread the gospel to all the palaces, and that it also emboldened others to speak out and spread the gospel. Through his imprisonment Paul was able to speak to Herod Agrippa who replied that after hearing Paul’s witness that he could almost become a Christian. (Acts 26:28 KJV). Overall in this letter Paul asserts continually his contentment to wait upon the Lord’s will for his life, while continuing to pray and spread the gospel.
Also read Acts chapters 25 thru chapter 28…this will really fill out the lesson and really drive home the point of how difficult Paul had it and how he really found ways to be content and trust the Lord in all situations that he was in.
Note: The KJV of Acts 26:28 was used because it seems more reasonable that Agrippa would be “almost persuaded” by a man of Paul’s changing background from persecutor to the most devout disciple, and by Paul’s charisma, also Agrippa’s parting words in verse 32 seem to be in sympathy with Paul’s plight, not overly skeptical as the NIV version seems to indicate.
Looking at the world today we see a lot of discontent in people’s lives. We are trained to always want to achieve more, more, more…more intelligence, more material goods, a better house, a better job, a better body…etc. While wanting to be the best that we can be and really respect that we would like to live up to being all that God created us to be is a good thing most people get carried away and focus on what they don’t achieve and what they cannot do or have not done instead of what they have accomplished. The World view is very skewed to look down on people who are less than others in those achievements. The fact of the matter is that we are all different. God created us all differently and we are all created for different purposes in God’s plan. Some of us are as smart as Einstein, and others are not gifted with intelligence at all. (I am not taking a dig at anyone here!) Our society has a role for people intellectually gifted, and also for people who are not so gifted.
Some folks are gifted with the ability to fix anything mechanical, almost as if the machine itself talks to them. There are others who cannot seem to change the oil in their car, but can design a computer chip that revolutionizes the world. In the world view the computer chip designer is valued more because they can do something for the whole world. However, if a person who relies on their car needs their car fixed, then the most valuable person is the car mechanic…at that time, there is no value to the computer chip designer in their life. It is all a matter of perspective. Just as what is going on in your life and how difficult your life is…that is a matter of your perspective versus the world perspective.
The saying that God doesn’t give you more than you and he can handle is a prime truth. It is also a prime truth that some people can handle more difficulties than others. A lot of times we will have a melt down in a situation where someone watching us would say, “What is happening here? Why are they so upset, this seems like such a minor thing?!!” Well, some things that are minor for one person, can be the last “straw” for another. It is again all a matter of perspective. So the next time you get into one of those “last straw” moments…take a breath and ask yourself…”Next week will I even remember this issue? Next year will it be an issue? In the scheme of my life, is this really important? How can my reaction to this situation I am in best serve God’s purpose in showing another person who God is in my life?” That is the most important question of all…I had a failure in this very area this week…thankfully, I was given the opportunity to rectify it with the person involved. God is good in giving second chances, but it is always nice when we don’t need them. Unfortunately, most of us do flub up once in while in our relationships with others, and with God.
It is nice to stop and consider the situation from another perspective… God’s perspective, if possible. The thing about it is that you cannot know God’s perspective unless you study the Bible and get to know God. Paul really understood who God was, and that every situation we are in is an opportunity to serve God. He learned to be content that he had a relationship with God no matter what situation he was in, and to wait and embrace the situation as an opportunity to serve God! We should all attempt to do that same thing…it leads to a much less stressful, much happier life!