TO CHEW ON: "I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Philippians 4:12 (emphasis added)
As an elderly, life-worn man, Paul was schooled by a variety of experiences and states. So are you. So am I. Here are some of the things life has taught me:
1. What you fill your mind with is important.This principle is always important and is underlined for me each time I am bedridden by illness or sidelined with an injury. Years ago during a difficult pregnancy, I spent many hours on the living room couch and found myself immersed in a Christian book about dealing with the occult. A pastor who came to pray for me saw the book and gently admonished, "That might not be the best reading material for you right now."
A few months later, when I was again out of commission, I determined to read something more uplifting. J. I. Packer's Knowing God proved to be the perfect mind food for someone longing to understand God during a difficult event. I still recall that time as one of intimacy with God and spiritual growth. Philippians 4:8 contains a list of wholesome mind-fillers.
2. Do things now, not later.If you're prompted to work ahead on assignments with a distant deadline, don't put it off with "There's still lots of time." You have no idea how much time you really have.
What happened in the spring of 2014 before I went to visit family members in northern B.C. reinforced that for me. Before I left home, I worked ahead on all the deadlines I knew about. Then halfway through my time away I broke my hip. Was I ever glad I had obeyed those promptings to work ahead! "… these things do, and the God of peace will be with you" - Philippians 4:9.
3. Remember, "No condition is permanent."I mull over these words of a former pastor whenever I am in a stressful, uncomfortable, wish-this-were-over place. In the meantime, I try to practice contentment - Philippians 4:11.
4. It is important to finish jobs.I've learned this from quitting difficult things a few times. The instant gratification of quitting is never worth the long-term erosion in self-esteem and self-confidence. Rather, I need to continue to take Philippians 4:13 as my motto: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
What has life taught you?
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to live by the principles of Your word and to recognize Your grace for me in each circumstance. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.