Secret to Contentment

Acts 16:16–40; Philippians 1:12–18

Paul is under house arrest in rented quarters; he refuses to focus on that. He is far from home, and his future is uncertain; he doesn’t let that concern him. He is bound to a Roman guard every day; no problem. Because he has made Christ the object of his life, contentment has replaced frustration. He’s taught himself to live above his circumstances. The benefits?

First, the progress of the gospel is accelerated; it’s never delayed. In his letter to the Christians in Philippi, Paul passionately confesses, “I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). Because of Paul’s attitude regarding his predicament, his testimony spread like a firestorm through the ranks of the Roman guard. Systematically, God’s Spirit leveled the towering pride of the Roman military.

Second, when you live above your circumstances, the edge of the message is sharpened; it’s never dulled. Paul exclaimed that his chains had become the reason the entire palace guard had come under the hearing of the gospel. That was no insignificant statistic. By Paul’s account, the message of Christ’s love permeated the ranks of the imperial guard, which some scholars suggest were as many as nine thousand. Amazingly, the revival started with one Roman soldier chained to one man—but not just any man. That forced union became a springtide of grace to the whole Praetorian Guard.

There’s a third benefit to living above your circumstances: the courage of others is strengthened, never weakened. Paul’s unlikely converts were not sheepish about their newfound faith in Christ. I take it that they didn’t hold back. Rather, they grew increasingly more courageous in their witness. I find that so exciting!

The secret to Paul’s contentment did not emerge from a manual on how to live the Christian life or from a workshop on positive thinking. He didn’t have access to a stack of self-help scrolls promising to shore up his sagging self-confidence. Paul’s secret was not found in a program, but in a Person. Christ made the difference. He taught His servant to endure all situations, every circumstance, each difficult challenge, no matter how adverse, through His power. Paul released all rights to His Master and, in turn, He released all the strength Paul needed.

Has God worked in your life in a significant way through Chuck Swindoll and the ministry of Insight for Living? Whatever your story, we’d love for you to tell it to us! Psalm 9:11 tells us to “declare among the peoples His deeds” so others can be encouraged. Submit your story.

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

Posted in Bible Characters, Christian Living and tagged , .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.

ఖచ్చితత్వం, స్పష్టత మరియు ఆచరణాత్మకత అన్నీ చార్లెస్ ఆర్. స్విన్డాల్ యొక్క బైబిల్-బోధనా పరిచర్యను వివరిస్తాయి. చక్ ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ కు బోర్డు ఛైర్మన్ మరియు డల్లాస్ థియోలాజికల్ సెమినరీకి ఛాన్సలర్. చక్ టెక్సాస్‌లోని ఫ్రిస్కోలోని స్టోన్‌బ్రయర్ కమ్యూనిటీ చర్చ్ యొక్క సీనియర్ పాస్టర్‌గా కూడా పనిచేస్తున్నారు, అక్కడ ఆయన చాలా ఇష్టపడేదాన్ని చేయగలుగుతున్నాడు-ఇష్టపడే హృదయాలకు బైబిల్ నేర్పిస్తున్నారు. ఆచరణాత్మక బైబిల్ అనువర్తనంపై ఆయన దృష్టి 1979 నుండి ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ రేడియో ప్రసారంలో వినబడుచున్నది.