Tonight at the wonderful Philippians Short Course Bible Study at First Trinity we were studying chapter 4. It’s a wonderful chapter which I strongly suggest everyone read. (You could even do so right now by clicking here.) Anyway, in summary here are a few things covered in that chapter:
- vs 4 – Finding JOY in the Lord
- vs. 5-7 – Finding PEACE to replace anxiety through prayer
- vs. 8-9 – Finding TRUTH to fight the lies Satan gets us to believe.
- vs. 10-20 – Finding CONTENTMENT in Jesus rather than our circumstances.
You may be starting to wonder what all of that has to do with a blog post that is supposed to be about HOPE.
However, as I was driving home just now, I began to realize that “CONTENTMENT” and “HOPE” are very much alike. Maybe hope grows out of contentment or contentment comes from hope or maybe neither, but in any case, many similarities appear.
Take a look at what Paul says here in Philippians 4 about being content:
… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know that 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 everything through him who gives me strength.
Just like contentment, we learn to find HOPE no matter what the circumstance. Hope doesn’t come FROM the circumstance. Most of the time, if we look at our situation, we’d probably find more despair than hope. So while hope doesn’t come from the situation, we can find hope IN the situation.
Paul states here that he found “the secret” to contentment, and it comes in looking to Christ for strength. The same is true of HOPE… we have to look to something, or rather Someone, outside of our situation in order to find hope.
Verse 19 tells who that Someone is:
And my God will meet ALL your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Despair, the opposite of hope, comes when we start to think that there’s no way out… our situation is too big… to hard… too much… my needs are too many or too great. In reality, when we can’t find contentment or we can’t find hope… it’s because somehow our circumstances have blinded from seeing God’s provision. We start to let our minds wander and think, “Well, maybe God isn’t enough for me.” Our situation can, at times, keep us from realizing that our God is MORE than enough for us. He provides ABUNDANTLY.
When fear and anxiety attempt to rob us of contentment or hope… we can focus on “whatever is true.” (vs. 8 ) And this my friends is true:
OUR GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF US!
We thank you for the promise that you will provide for ALL our needs. We thank you that you’re not giving us just enough to survive, but that you provide abundantly, that You are MORE than enough for us. When the situations and circumstances of our lives blind us and fill us with anxiety, give us strength and bring us back to truth. We know from Your Word that in that place of truth… in being honest with you in prayer, your peace will guard our hearts and our minds. That is our prayer tonight, Lord… that you would protect our hearts and minds from despair as you point us to Hope Himself, Jesus Christ.
It’s in His name we pray,