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Being content in every circumstance

Life can be a bully pushing us around. I discovered this while parenting. Periodically one of my children would come to me with some tale of woe. Their face told me the story before they said anything. And frequently I would address not the problem, but their response to it by asking a question: …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Life can be a bully pushing us around. I discovered this while parenting. Periodically one of my children would come to me with some tale of woe. Their face told me the story before they said anything. And frequently I would address not the problem, but their response to it by asking a question:


“Have you learned the secret yet?”


“What secret?”


“The secret of being content no matter what your circumstances.”


Paul frequently found himself in the most adverse circumstances – shipwrecked, in prison, threatened, and on trial for his life. Yet he declares, “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.” [Phil. 4:12]


What a contrast with this discontent, petulant, grasping age in which we live – a time in which we are in the grips of the god of “not enough,” prisoner in a cell of angst, trapped by thoughts of what could be but isn’t’.


We need to learn the secret of happy living. It’s a secret Paul spells out plainly earlier in Philippians 4. Call it an “attitude of gratitude.” Verse 4 tells us to, “rejoice in the Lord always.” Verse 6 says, “do not be anxious.” And it continues, “with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Verse 8 concludes, “Think about excellent things.”


Are you discouraged or anxious? You need to learn the secret. Practice Paul’s four steps and live a life of contentment:


1. Rejoice.


2. Take anxious thoughts captive.


3. Thank God for your concerns and turn them over to Him.


4. Meditate on things that are true, noble, and excellent.


If we do this, we’re promised: “God’s peace will guard your hearts.” It’s a powerful key to happy living.

Comments (6)

  • Thanks Seth!!! After a day at the office that did not go like I thought it was suppose to, this hit the spot.

  • Thank God and you brother Seth for the addvisse on those verses,like Paul said I have been thought to live in abundence and to live in need,perhaps my time has come to live by faith either way I will wait for God to provide to be onnest that’s one of the best parts of the Bible if Paul was able to live by faith well than I will too,take care please continue to pray for me so God continues using me in any ministry that he want’s to use me,may God continue blessing you,your family and your ministry.
    Your friend and brother in Jesus Crist:Oscar Duran

  • So good! Thanks Seth! God’s been teaching me a lot of this – especially humility and that ‘attitude of gratitude’. It really does make everything better 🙂

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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