i’m learning

The Scripture states emphatically that “Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” (James 1:17 Message)

Does that include the setbacks, disappointments and difficulties?

Paul seemed to think it did. He wrote in Philippians 4:11-13: “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (Message)

Did you hear what he was actually saying? Everything in this life – the times of abundance, when everything is going our way, as well as the lean times, when it seems like we are existing from moment to moment – is a means to God’s end. What is that end? For us to learn who we are in Christ.

Too often we define ourselves by our possessions or our present circumstances. That is the problem with the prosperity movement, we become “absorbed with the things right in front of (us). (Rather than) Look(ing) up, and be(ing) alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. (We must) See things from his perspective.” (Colossians 3:2 Message)

Paul encourages his readers not to define themselves by their possessions or circumstances but, rather, by their relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He then goes so far as to suggest that everything that happens in this life, both the times of abundance and the times of lack, are used by God to teach us who we really are in Christ and, subsequently, where true happiness comes from.

I don’t know about you, but I still have some things to learn about this. On occasion, my sense of contentment is still affected by what’s happening in my life. However, by God’s grace, I am learning to look for God in both the pleasant things of life and those which are not, so that I can be content in Christ alone.


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