Saturday, December 25, 2010
12 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. 13 I can do all this through him [Christ] who gives me strength.
Maybe some of you have noticed...Bible Gateway, along with other companies, have updated the NIV to the 2010 translation. Essentially, you'll find the same messages at the root of every passage, with slight elaborations on some of the content.
I chose to use the 2010 version in today's passage, because I think it describes so beautifully the foundational ingredient of reaching true contentment.
Paul is explaining all the things he has been through in his life. And if you know anything about Paul's life- you know his struggles and challenges can be compared to some of the greatest in history. He was a man who saw the bitter sting of imprisonment, hatred, and an early death- all for the name of the one He loved, all for the sake of the One who had changed his life.
But at the end of it all- Paul was able to achieve true contentment. He was wholly satisfied in his life, and no one could take that away from him. And at the end of it all, his secret to contentment boiled down to one thing and one thing alone: Christ.
It was Christ that saved this man from the pit of materialism, arrogance, hatred, and selfishness. It was Christ who gave him purpose, a calling, and a reason to live. It was Christ who filled him with compassion, love, and mercy. It was Christ who took the nagging hole at the pit of his heart and filled it with His love.
Paul found the secret to contentment that he had been searching for all his life...because Christ found him.
Maybe you, too, have an aching void in your life. A hole that you have long tried to silence with the things of this world only to find yourself frustrated and empty. A hole that reminds you with each and every passing thought that your life is not as it should be. Maybe you too, like Paul, have reached a point in your life where you are realizing that the only thing left to try is Jesus. It's true, as the songwriter wrote: There's a God shaped hole in all of us. And that's a hole that only He can fill.
And I am so thankful He did. I am so thankful that we serve a God who is gracious enough to find us, knowing that we aren't always able to find Him. A God who humbled himself to the point of becoming one of us in order to help us know Him, in order to give us the chance to be loved by Him. A God who gave His life so that we could fill the void in our life...and finally find the secret to contentment. Finally find Him.
This Christmas, may we understand the gift of Christ. A God who became a man just to chase after those He loved. Just to remind us that the hole in our heart is really perfectly made for Him.
Let us allow Him to fill our hearts and our lives with that love...and truly find what it means to be content.
Merry Christmas everyone. May God grant each of you with the gift of contentment...the gift of Christ.
Lessons Learned by Debra Fileta at 10:58 PM