The Apostle Paul learned the secret of contentment, which means that he was satisfied to the point where his soul could not be disturbed or disquieted regardless of external situations in his life. The sufferings of the Apostle Paul were extremely intense because of his ministry and calling. He endured imprisonments, beatings to the point of death, was stoned and shipwrecked three times finding himself at the mercy of the sea, suffered perils of nature, bandits, had to toil in hardships, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, cold, and lack of proper clothing! And at the same time, the Apostle Paul carried within himself the daily, inescapable pressure of caring for the churches. He learned to endure all things and accomplish all things through the strength and power of Jesus Christ (2), never feeling sorry for himself or being overcome with self-pity. Paul commanded the church to follow after his example and observe those who have patterned their lives after his example (3).
There are many circumstances that have the potential to produce tremendous anxiety, unrest, tribulation, hurt, and unhappiness in the life of every believer. Matthew 5:45 tells us that the Father “makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike].” Divine contentment is not the removal of adversity, but the inward sufficiency of Christ that carried us through adversity.
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