From Self-Sufficiency to Surrender - Part 4
“Lord, help me to grow continually closer to You as I study the wisdom of Your word”.
Read: Philippians 4:11-13
”I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible [HCSB])
Many of us have had the opportunity to take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. One of the first things that Dave teaches in this course is that each one of us has to do a reality check on our spending habits, and then we have to rate every expenditure as a “need” or a “want”. The realization that we tend to spend way more on non-essential “wants” can be a real eye opener for many of us. In today’s passage, Paul discusses learning contentment regardless of the situation. I know for me, it is easy to pay lip service to trusting in God’s provision when things are going well. My job is secure. My income satisfies my creditors (needs) and gives me some fun money as well (for wants). However, it becomes a bit tougher to believe in God’s faithfulness after losing a job and the market just doesn’t offer that right position that I think I need. Fast forward a few weeks with no change in sight, and my minimal level of trust begins to grow into a state of bitterness, asking a lot of “why me” questions. In my personal quest to learn the type of situational contentment that Paul describes here, I am beginning to fully come to the realization that God really is in control, and regardless of my bad decisions in the past, He will make a way for my needs to be met. This takes active surrender on my part. I surrender my ability to control the situation and surrender my perceived need to satisfy my wants, and I give God the authority and the right to be my provider.
Most of us have a pretty good idea what our real needs are, but often we allow wants to become perceived as needs as we become dependent upon the satisfaction they provide. Learning to be content is not something that happens overnight. It is a process and can take a long time. Take a step on this path by analyzing your needs versus your wants to assess your level of contentment.
“Lord, I realize that some of the things You have for me to learn are not easy, so today my prayer is that You will give me the strength to stay the course and the vision to see the path that leads where You would have me go”.