I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12, 13 NIV)
One of the often overlooked looked phrases in these verses is “have learned”, but those two little words are essential to understanding this verse at its core. Paul *learned* how to be content.
Learned is a verb - it is acquiring an understanding through experience or study. It doesn’t just happen instantaneously, learning takes time and repetition. As a teacher, I can tell you learning takes perseverance and a determination to understand. It doesn’t just happen. There is always a lesson before the learning happens.
Now, I’ve know true stories of people who were supernaturally healed from a physical ailment or who set free from a controlling sin issue in an instant. God can heal and God can restore in the snap of a finger, and sometimes He chooses to do that for His glory.
But I know far more stories of people who struggle for years to overcome a sin issue, including my own. There were some instant freedoms I found when I handed my life over to Christ, but there have been some massive sin issues borne of generational strongholds that have taken some time for God to reveal to me. I have had to learn how to let go and let God in many different circumstances, each time chiseling away at what I thought I knew and replacing it with a new understanding.
As I mentioned earlier, true learning takes perseverance and a determination to understand. You have to go after knowledge if you truly want to learn. You have to press on when it doesn’t make sense, and review the information over and over until you achieve understanding.
Paul learned how to be content, it didn’t just happen instantaneously. He had to endure some repetitive lessons, he had to fight his way to an understanding. Each situation Paul faced, he learned about the grace of God. Each test he encountered and overcame brought new insight and deepened his faith. Paul had to learn patience and surrender, obedience and faithfulness, determination and trust, just as we have had to learn these things - through our trials.
But this learning we endure IS the gift of grace we receive from our Heavenly Father. God provides the lessons and the opportunities to learn. And He provides the strength we need to walk through those difficult lessons. We just need to access it.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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