By Sheryl Murray
Thriving . . . quite an appropriate summer blog theme–a time of plants sprouting and reaching for the sky and young animals newly born and developing. That’s how I want my faith to be each day. I really want to be thriving–growing daily and reaching for the Son. But sometimes I find myself striving or just plain barely surviving. My heart’s desire is to be thriving while being content–with my circumstances and with the growth that the Lord is doing in me. What’s the secret?
“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.” Philippians 4:11
I cannot tell you the number of times I have read and re-read this verse looking for the secret. For years I thought there needed to be a colon, not a period after the word want, i.e., to say, “I’ve learned the secret of being content and here is the secret:” but that isn’t the way it is written. I puzzled over the verse for years until one day it finally hit me–the secret of being content is contained in verses 4-9 above.
Rejoice! (v. 4) God loves and cares for us. He wants the best for us. His ways bring life. We can trust Him. Express your love for Him with praise.
Do not be anxious. (v. 6) God is sovereign. Nothing takes Him by surprise. Live your life today; He takes care of your tomorrows.
Ask God for what you need, in thanksgiving. (v. 6b) God is our Father. He wants a relationship with us. Although He already knows everything, He wants to hear from us. It is difficult to be discontented with our circumstances while we are thanking our Lord for all that He has provided for us
Think on things which are good and right and true (v. 8)- Focus on Jesus–the way, the truth, the life. Peter could walk on water while he kept his eyes on the Lord but started to sink when he looked around to see the storming wind and waves (Matthew 14:22-33).
Put into practice what you already know (v. 9) Don’t fret over things you don’t understand. Rather, put into practice what you do know about trusting and obeying God. Keep reading His Word which transforms our minds and keeps us in His will.
These are the principles, the “secret,” to being content. You and I need to allow the Holy Spirit to give us the power to follow these principles. And the result? Peace which transcends all understanding (v. 7) and an ability to do all things that the Lord has asked of us (v. 13).
That sounds like thriving to me!