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Improbable Joy – Philippians 4:10-13

May 7, 2024
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Philippians 4:10-13

Paul had learned the secret of contentment, and it comes from our identity. The enemy wants to us to believe 3 mistaken identities. They are:

  1. I am what I do – contentment from accomplishments
  2. I am what people say about me – contentment from status and society
  3. I am what I have – the sum of my possessions

If we are operating under these mistaken identities, then “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” becomes a favorite verse because not only can I have all these things, but I know I will have the strength of God on my side to help me get them. When I finally achieve either the goals, the accolades, or the things, then I’ll be content. This is so wrong!

Actually, Satan tempted Jesus with all three of these falsehoods while He was in the wilderness for 40 days. Jesus was hungry, lonely, and without any comforts. Again, Satan was calling His identity into question. BUT, Jesus knew who He was because immediately preceding His time in the desert, He was baptized in the Jordan River. God spoke over Him, “You are my Son, whom I love, in you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) Jesus knew who He was!

Paul is having the same conversation with the church at Philippi, which had sent him a nice gift and a friend to give him some company during his imprisonment. In Paul’s gratefulness, he is saying his identity is not found in what he does – he’s stuck in prison and can’t do anything except write letters. His identity is not in what other people say about him – he tells us people have been bad mouthing him, preaching out of selfish ambition, but he’s ok with it because Christ is being preached! His identity is not in his possessions, so that when they give him a present, he can say I rejoiced greatly that you showed concern, but just so you know, even if you hadn’t I would have been fine, because I’ve learned how to be content through my union with Christ!

Being “In Christ” means being completely consumed by God’s lavish love. Being “in” is the closet relationship one can have. As followers of Jesus, because God loves Jesus FULLY, God loves us FULLY. No more, no less. (John 17:26).

As a result of knowing this secret to contentment, we should “rejoice in the Lord always”. Rejoicing fosters the awareness of the relationship you have with Jesus.

Remember, identity comes before contentment!

Questions to consider:

  1. In what circumstances do you fall into the trap of trying to find contentment in A)what you do B)what people say about you C)what you have?
  2. How does that false view of contentment affect your life?
  3. Who does God say that you are? How does that impact you?
  4. What do you rejoice about today regarding the Father’s love for you?