I have completed the hymn text for my third hymn, The Secret of Living.
As I looked at the texts available from the church year calendar for Thanksgiving I decided to go with the second lesson text,
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 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 everything through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
What is the secret of living revealed to us above? Contentment.
“…be content whatever the circumstances…” Oof. Reading that sentence hurts, doesn’t it?
I think it hurts for two reasons. The first reason it hurts is because I know how easily I have not lived up to it. I flare up in anger or annoyance quicker than I can control and take my circumstances out on those nearest to me. I hang my head. The second reason it hurts is because I fear the pain of what “whatever” may include in the future. What is the “just not that” that I have tried to reserve for God to not let break me?
When God says “whatever” does that include when injustice has occurred to me?
Life is supposed to be fair, right? I deserve better.
Does “whatever” include when balancing the budget comes out just right and giving to the LORD out of my first fruits hurts?
I deserve more.
Does whatever include even if I lose my health? or even worse my children’s health or life?
We deserve to live it fully.
The greatest injustice has already occurred to me. Only I didn’t get the short end of the stick. Truly, what I deserve is torment forever in hell. No sugar coating here. Yet, something I will never be able to fully understand is the love of our God, because of Jesus we are made righteous in Him.
I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20
Let’s weigh those works of mine on a balance. It’s a landslide to negative, complete debt, impossible… yet because of Jesus,
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21
On my own I am spiritually dead already! I should not fear sickness or death in this finite world because of Jesus,
I live forever!
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Phil 1:21