Last night I was very discouraged. I was in one of those moods. Everyone gets them, I suppose. No, I take that back. We all find ourselves in that situation from time to time. I’m better now, but it took some work. Let’s see if I can recreate this in case any of you are going through the same thing right now.
I have found that these moods are dangerous. I believe I once read something from Charles Stanley that says discouragement will lead to despair. That is a place I don’t want to go. He also says that discouragement is a choice. That is quite interesting because if it is a choice, then I don’t have to stay in that place. It may not change any of the events around me, but it certainly will change the quality of my life. After all, there simply are some things that money can’t buy.
Let’s look at some verses.
Philippians 4:11-13 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.
Paul shows us here that we have a great deal of control over our frame of mind. Do you want to know something? He wasn’t born with this ability. It was something he learned. It says so, twice. What is this “something”? Paul called it a secret, but he then revealed it to us. That secret is, “I can do all things through (Christ) who strengthens me.”
Now, we all know the story of “The Little Engine That Could.” It’s a positive affirmation type of exercise. This is exactly what we can do with Paul’s message. Like the little engine, we repeat the same message over and over. We internalize it. We make it ours. We own it. Before long, it becomes who we are. In fact, the very words will seem as we were the ones who thought of it first!
Look at what Paul is seeking. Do you see it? He knows what his goal is – to be content. Content. I looked up the definition. Content is an adjective that means “in a state of peaceful happiness.” That sounds like a place I want to be in. A place I want to stay in.
Notice, too, that this is a place that God wants us to be. “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” That sounds like a directive to me. A directive from who? God, of course. Our Father wants us to be content – in a state of peaceful happiness. That’s something we need to pay close attention to. God wants us to be content.
John 6:38a For I have come down from heaven, no to do my own will but the will of him who sent me
John 14:15-16 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever.
So, I need to get this straight in my head. My tendency is to be the life of the party – my own pity party. That’s not what God wants for me at all! Should I be surprised, therefore, that I am miserable whenever I get all dressed up for that event? Hardly. Why in the world would I want to go to stinking gathering? I don’t, yet I do. Far too often. I want to be content. I want to be in a state of peaceful happiness. Then why do I find myself throwing a pity party? I have yet to learn the lesson. What lesson? That I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
You see, Jesus doesn’t attend pity parties. Oh, certainly, he will drive you home from one if you call the “sober cab,” but you need to be the one that calls him. And, guess what? The sober cab always carries an element of regret in that we shouldn’t need one in the first place. Honestly, some parties are better if we don’t go. Pity parties, for example.
How do we get our thinking straightened out? Yes, Philippians 4:11-13 is where I want to be, but how do I get to that place? Let’s look at something else. Notice what Jesus says in John 14:16. He will send us a Helper. That’s the Holy Spirit. We need to tap into that. We need to be in control of our thought process.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Long story short, the weapons of our warfare are in the Trinity. We don’t have the power. We aren’t the weapon. God is the one who enables us to destroy strongholds through his tools – the bible, Christian music, godly friends, etc. – that the Holy Spirit will make effective in our lives. The only real thing I need to do is submit to the Helper and cooperate with him. Right? I need to immerse myself in things of God rather than isolate myself at my pity party.
You know, when I have my head on straight, I can’t imagine why I would want to spend one second at a pity party. What in the world is wrong with me that I would even consider it? I’m learning, yes, I am. One day, I will be able to say, “I have learned” in the present not as an affirmation for the future. I have setbacks, but I see signs of progress. Here’s one last verse for today.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Hope this helps.
Father, direct my attention to Jesus. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers