“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. …I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”Philippians 4:11b, 13
So far the most trying time of my incarceration was 21 days in a thunderously loud, vermin-infested cell house. Yet from a worse prison setting—without electricity or indoor plumbing, dependent upon charity for any food at all—Paul wrote that he had learned contentment. How remarkable!
He could say this because his focus was on neither his discomfort nor the cost of his obedience to Christ. Rather, he looked to the promised reward: everlasting joy, heaped upon all who faithfully proclaim God’s prodigal grace. The church he had founded in Philippi, through their own loving self-sacrifice on his behalf, also displayed this same objective (v. 10, 14-18).
In his book Desiring God, John Piper calls this lifestyle of pursuing joy “Christian hedonism.” Don’t waste your life, he says, by chasing momentary pleasures (which, even if they lasted a century, only satisfy for so long). True contentment comes from treasuring the eternal. Delight in sharing the Lord’s mercy, and He will satisfy every genuine need (v. 19-20).
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14)