I want to love my life! I don’t want to just love parts of it, but I want to embrace it all – even the things that are painful, unjust or unfair. Life in Christ is meant to be adventurous, but the only way we can have the life Jesus died to give us is to learn how to be content no matter what our circumstances may be.
In Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV), the apostle Paul says: …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 all this through him who gives me strength.
Notice that Paul says he learned the secret of being content. I want to give you some tips and Bible study exercises to help you learn how you can embrace every season of your life – even the painful ones – so you can have and enjoy the life Jesus died to give you!
What It Really Means to Be Content
Being content doesn’t mean we never want change. We all have things in our lives that aren’t right and areas we want to improve in. But when you’re content in Christ, you can have joy while God is working on those situations. And when we really trust God, we can do that.
We have to learn how to embrace not just the good things, but even the hard things.
Stop Hating Your Life
Get the words “I hate” out of your language. So many people mindlessly say they “hate” to drive in traffic, to do laundry, their job, to mow the grass, to clean the house, the way they look…and on and on.
But how can we expect to be content and enjoy life if we hate everything?
I’ve formed a habit of saying at least once a day: “I love God. I love my life. I love myself, my family, the work I do in ministry…I just love life!”
Write your own statement of the things you love in your life and make a point to confess it each day. It will help you be mindful to keep “I hate” out of your vocabulary and stir up more love and gratitude in your heart.
Seasons of Life
Genesis 8:22 says, While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.
There are seasons of seedtime, waiting and harvest…seasons of testing and breakthrough. The difficult seasons are necessary for the good times to come. Think about it…
- If the farmer doesn’t plant seed, he won’t get a crop to harvest.
- If your faith is never tested, then you’ll never have a testimony to share about God’s goodness and faithfulness.
When you’re tempted to believe the painful time is never going to end, and you just can’t stand it any longer, make a decision to believe God’s Word more than you believe what you think and feel – no matter how things look!
Replace those tempting lies with these truths:
I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose…. Phillipians 4:13 (AMP)
…And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
…If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
Make a list of other scriptures that will combat lies the enemy tries to plant in your mind and heart. Preparing yourself in advance will give you a quicker victory when temptation comes.
When Bad Things Happen, You Have 3 Choices:
- Let them destroy you.
- Let them make you bitter.
- Let them make you stronger!
God has a purpose for everything He permits in our lives. And although we may never understand it, we can trust that God’s Word is true and He always works everything out for our good – for those who love Him and want His will!
Romans 8:28 (AMP) promises that God will cause all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love Him and follow His plan for their life. How have you experienced this in the past? Is there a current challenge you need to trust God to work out for good?
Write a prayer thanking God for the good He’s brought about through hard times, and ask Him to show you how any situations you’re struggling with right now can make you stronger.
4 Purposes for Trials
- To humble us.
- The apostle Paul said he was humbled and learned how to rely on God’s grace through difficulty (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
- What do you need God’s grace to accomplish in your life today? It could be a task of some kind or making a change in your attitude or behavior.
- To keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves.
- In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, Paul shares about experiences that helped him learn how to rely on God completely. Read them to see how his testimony reveals the true saving power of God.
- What do you need to entrust to God today, so you will stop striving in your own strength to meet all your needs, make something happen, or solve all your problems?
- To test our faith.
- You don’t really know what you believe until it’s put to the test (see 1 Peter 1:6-7).
- Has your faith been tested lately? What part of your life would be healthier if you had stronger faith in God’s wisdom and faithfulness to cover it?
- To equip us to help others.
- We can’t relate to hurting people if we never go through anything painful. God is the Source of all comfort, and He can use us to comfort others! (see 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- Pray for someone who needs to be comforted by God. If you have peace about reaching out to them, do something to let them know you’re thinking of them, you care, and you’re praying for them.
I want to encourage you to make a determined decision to trust God in the midst of your most difficult seasons. Know that on the other side of them, you will appreciate the good things that come even more because of the good God did in you and through you as a result.
Don’t waste your pain! Don’t live with a bad, bitter, hateful attitude. Ask God to use these challenging experiences to make you a blessing to someone else!