“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds, wherever we go.”
I came across this quote by Martha Washington today that seemed to go right along with the last few posts I’ve written. I don’t know under what circumstances she penned such thoughts, but they parallel the words of the apostle Paul from thousands of years earlier:
“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” (Philippians 4:11-12).
It seems like there’s a theme going on here in what I’m being led to write about:
1. Our circumstances should not determine our responses (Theology of a Smile).
2. Our circumstances should not determine our responses (Certain Unalienable Rights).
3. Our circumstances should not determine our responses (More Thoughts on Contentment).
Maybe God is trying to remind me about the necessity of contentment. I know it is something on which I can always work harder. Maybe He wants me to write these things for the benefit of someone else. I don’t know that, but I do know that they are good reminders for all believers of all maturity levels.
But not to end on a note of hard work (though that is a most necessary part of our walk with God) — rather, to add a note of encouragement to these commands for contentment: we don’t have to do it through our weak, inconsistent, so-called human strength.
Remember what Paul was told in 2 Corinthians 12:9 regarding his “thorn in the flesh” (a very human reason to be discontent) — “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And in the next verse, he goes on to state that “for the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Surely, he must have those thoughts in mind when he penned Philippians 4:13, declaring that “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
What excuse do we still have for being discontent, if we have Christ?