When Paul speaks of “the secret” to being “content in any and every situation” he tells us in the next verse that secret is his faith/trust in Christ and I AM (God).
“I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13)
This is a statement of faith. A declaration of trust. Paul plainly explains the reason he is content no matter what he is faced with is because he KNOWS GOD, intimately, and that knowledge of God has flourished into a remarkable relationship of unwavering faith. With faith comes a harvest of peace.
That’s not to say those of faith never have moments of anxiety. If we didn’t, I doubt Paul would’ve bothered to warn us against anxiousness and encourage us in prayer (Phil 4:6) – with thankfulness (there is great power in gratitude).
Take the man often celebrated for seeking God’s heart, King David….David was known for his devotion to, and faith in, God. He spoke freely about God’s love and faithfulness and celebrated God with so much fervor, it’s written that he once danced out of his clothes! Still, what I love most about David is his authenticity regarding his struggles with maintaining peace/trust.
David spoke honestly about his anxiety, depression, even fear (he is credited with authoring much of the Book of Psalms)- but David too, knew the secret. No matter how down he became, especially during his time on the run from his jealous murderous king of a father-in-law, he continued to place his faith and trust in God. He would always, always return to God with thanksgiving and praise because, like Paul, he knew “the secret” and [more importantly] he KNEW God.
As a child, I recognized the disconnect between what is taught at church vs. what is applied in (some) homes. We cheer pastor while he preaches about faith, then return to our homes where we spend the whole week living in fear aka. WORRY (Worry is fear in a disguise) aka. LACK OF TRUST (worrying denotes a lack of trust in someone or something. For people of faith, worry directly reflects a lack of trust in God).
We live in fear because we worry…
We worry because we lack trust…
We lack trust because we lack relationship -with God.
How can you trust someone you don’t personally know?
Only with a limit.
In order to access and maintain peace that surpasses, you must “seek ye first the Kingdom of God…” by seeking God’s Heart not God’s hand. As you come to know and grow in the knowledge and love of God, so shall your faith.
Again, this doesn’t mean the faithful never have moments of weakness and worry. Scripture is filled with examples of faithful leaders falling short, but they never fell off. Even in moments of great despair, they remembered The One Who Knows and Is All and continued to place their trust in God, Job 13:15.
The greater the faith, the greater the peace; but first comes trust.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed in this world, even Jesus had a moment before he submitted to the cross (Matt 26:36-44).
Still, that doesn’t give us a pass to dwell in worry. We were forewarned of the troubles we’d endure in this world, but we were also reminded to remain in courage and not be shaken because Christ has already overcome.
If you believe Christ has already overcome, I mean truly and genuinely believe, nothing on this earth (or beyond) should disrupt your peace [for an extended period of time]. Nothing.
If you are a person of faith battling anxiety/stress/worry/fear today – let this be a gentle reminder to take your eyes of what is seen (this world, circumstances) and fix it on that which is unseen (God’s heart).
Take some time to read and reflect on Philippians chapter 4, then spend some time in prayer admitting your weaknesses as far as your faith and seeking God’s help to grow in relationship and faith that you may mature to the point of maintaining your peace in all things.
You are called.
You are loved.
You are a child of the Most High God.