For I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. Philippians 4:11b AMP
The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you. Philippians 4:9 AMP
Some of you reading this may remember a newscaster named Paul Harvey who had a radio program from 1951-2008. My favorite part of the program was called, “The Rest of the Story.” During his broadcast, he would tell the backstory of some headline news that gave a different perspective on an event and the people involved. What he said was verifiable truth. I enjoy reading and learning about the people in the Bible in the same way and especially their relationship with God.
The Apostle Paul is one of my favorites. His back story is traumatic and I wonder what kind of memories may have haunted him over the years, which awes me that he could write the two verses above and others like them in most of the epistles.
In Philippians 3:4-6, Paul gives a brief description of his early life of his confidence in his nationality, education and Pharisee zeal in persecuting the church, as well as his faultless obedience to the law. Acts 9 tells about Saul (Paul’s) conversion and Ananias being sent to restore Saul’s sight and what the Lord’s call would be on his life. When Ananias is reluctant, the Lord said,
“Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:15-16 AMP
I wonder how I would have responded if I had been told beforehand what I would live through to follow Jesus.
What I see in and appreciate about Paul is that he “learned to be content”, which indicates he practiced the very same things he told other followers of Christ to do. He was in prison in Rome when he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, and in all of them he gives thanks for the people in those locations and encourages their growth in Christ Jesus. Though Paul was in chains for preaching and living the gospel of Christ, he was not chained-up inside himself. He practiced what he preached.
Along with me, take some time to read Philippians and find out more about how Paul encourages us to keep going in releasing our anxieties in Christ Jesus.