I’ve found the secret.
Do you know the secret?
In full disclosure, I’m just now learning about the secret. The secret of being content. It’s been an elusive state of being that’s seemed to evade me my entire life.
A few years back, I was introduced to a film entitled “The Secret”, which proposed a “new thought” based on the laws of attraction. It basically said to emit good, positive thoughts out into the universe, & that your good energy would eventually come back to you (usually in the form of wealth & success).
That secret, my friends, is hogwash. And though my spirit didn’t resonate with what was presented in that film, it did make me question what was the “key to happiness” or the secret to being fulfilled in this life. Paul talks about the secret in Philippians 4 and it gives context to one of the most powerful (and misrepresented) verses in scripture.
V12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. V13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Paul, writing from behind bars, says “Thanks guys for caring about me, but I’m okay, because I know the secret of being content”. In great contrast, here we are as fairly comfortable American Christians that live in great abundance and have little to no clue on how to be content.
We joke (sort of) about our ‘first world problems’…but we also, at the first scrape of offense or hardship, yelp at our discomfort. We’ve forgotten that we’re exiles in a foreign land. This isn’t our home. We’re not called to comfort…we’re called to die to ourselves. We’re priests in a hostile territory. We whine at general struggle…what are we to expect when we actually meet hardship for the sake of our beliefs?
In the meantime, while God keeps reminding us of who we are, where he’s placed us and what our purpose is - we can take a cue from a few things that Paul was doing earlier in the chapter. 1) Rejoice in the Lord always (not your bank account, accomplishments, or wallow in your pain). 2) Don’t be anxious about anything - but instead talk to God. 3)Let your mind center on what is true, lovely and worthy of praise.
We don’t control our circumstances, but we do control where we place our focus. Today, whether you find yourself riding high or struggling to put one foot in front of the other - you can choose. Contentment is the byproduct of focusing on and abiding with a good God - no matter the circumstances.