I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 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.Here is where the conviction set in. I asked myself (and our people) whether we are really content in Jesus. What if God decided to take everything away from you right now? Would you still be content? What if He decided to give you every material blessing you could possibly imagine (which for me would probably be worse)? Would you still be content? These are hard questions. Very hard. And thus you can see the reason for such great conviction. I know what I want to say to answer those questions. I would love to say I am absolutely content in Jesus and there is nothing that would change that. But I know my heart. I know myself well enough to know I find contentment in my family, home, church, etc., which are all good gifts from our great God. But I (we) must never forget that the giver of these gifts is to be praised and adored more than the gifts themselves.
Another thing in those verses that I think is important (and encouraging) is that Paul stated twice that he had learned how to be content. Though the learning is not easy, I find it encouraging to hear that the apostle Paul had to have the time and experiences to learn this contentment. It's a process. God is with those who are His. And He is continually teaching us that we can find contentment in Him. He continues to prove Himself faithful and gracious. All the time. In every circumstance.
I'm seeking to find more contentment in Christ!