by Doy Moyer
One thing about Christians in Scripture (ideally speaking) — they learned to roll with the punches no matter what was going on. If the government opposed them, they went with it and continued to glorify God. If things were going smoothly, they enjoyed the peace and they kept glorifying God. If they were scattered from persecution, they spread the Gospel anyway. Their allegiance to the Lord was not dependent upon the circumstances they encountered. They did not quit teaching the Gospel due to threats, nor did they entertain stopping during peace. They knew they had a higher mission in the Kingdom of Christ and they were always encouraged to stay true to that. They prayed for those in charge so that, no matter what may come, they could “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (I Timothy 2:2).
This mentality is captured well by Paul in this well-known passage:
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:10-13).
In need, Paul was content and did the Lord’s will.
In persecution and prison, Paul was content and did the Lord’s will.
In abundance, Paul was content and did the Lord’s will.
“In whatever situation I am … content.”
Let’s not make the mistake of tying our faithfulness to God to the way we are being treated, to the way government operates, or to the economic circumstances we face, whether good or bad. Faithfulness transcends all situations, and how we respond will demonstrate whether or not we are content in the Lord in all circumstances.
If we are complaining due to circumstances, we are not content.
If we feel entitled, we are not content.
If we think circumstances can keep us from glorifying God, we have not grasped the nature of biblical Christianity.
Let us, then, be encouraged to think to the higher cause, the higher mission, and the higher message of the Gospel. Let us refocus ourselves to learn to be content in whatever situation we are in. Look to the things that are not seen, where Christ is, setting our minds on things above (see Colossians 3:1-5). May God help us to seek first His kingdom and righteousness. All else will fall into place when we do.