by Dr. Faith Fredrick
At a Christian Bible conference a poll was taken from several hundred attendees. The objective of the poll was to determine individual personal happiness. The report came that 92% of those polled said that they really were not very happy because they felt unloved, unwanted and unaccepted. Many admitted to feelings of discontent and unhappiness.
By marked contrast the Apostle Paul writes the following: for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. (Philippians 4:11-13 TLB)
In other words, Paul is saying, “Circumstances do not matter; I am a very happy man. I have learned to adapt to whatever challenges are presented because I know Christ will enable me to prevail. I am content.”
How could this be when his challenges as recorded in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, include numerous jail terms, beatings, shipwrecked three times, robbed and left for dead plus many other forms of persecution? His ministry was filled with continual adversity. There were no Monday morning golf games, leisure vacations and siestas by the pool.
There is no lifestyle of ease and comfort here. Most of the time he ministered to a hostile audience and on a regular basis faced grueling uncomfortable, debilitating circumstances, all for the sake of the gospel. When focusing on the perils of Paul and the daily tasks of the ministry; we must ask, where did he find this kind of contentment? For most Christians this appears like a total contradiction.
Listen to Paul’s secret: I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:11-12)