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Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Joy Challenge: Friday 4th April 2014

"For I have learned in whatever situation I am in 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 4:11-13. Often, and especially today, these words seem so far beyond my reach. I am struggling with health and all I feel like doing is wallowing in a bath of self pity, ignoring everyone else, and justifying myself in being grumpy. None of that is ok. None of that is Godly. None of it is in light of all Jesus is and has done. But that is just words. Nice theory to try and convince myself out of the problem (and really only succeeding in making me feel bad), and although talking to your soul is sometimes the only solution - see Psalm 42 - how do you really learn to do what Paul did? How do you go from knowing that you should be content to knowing contentment itself? 

I am not there. But at least I know that. I know the goal although am clueless to the exact route. And yet, Paul does provide a clue: think beyond yourself, above yourself and your situation. Not quite the same as trying to tell yourself to snap out of it but actually transforming your thought pattern. Think of the truth of the gospel, the honour of being a servant and child of God, the justice that will come one day, the purity of our snow-white, blood-sprinkled selves, the loveliness of spring flowers and sunrise and birdsong, the spotlessly commendable character of Christ in all his humility and compassion, grace and truth, the excellence of fellowship, and the awesome praiseworthiness of the Lamb who was slain, stained forever that we might be clean. 

Think about such things, Nic. Stop thinking about yourself. And the God of peace will be with you. And do you know what? He is. A long blog post later has somehow been part of the journey, part of the secret. Thank you to those who read. To brothers and sisters struggling to be content above circumstance. I am glad to have others to practice this great secret with, for I cannot grasp it on my own. 

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