Turn up the “mercies” in the music of your life. The rhetoric of the Spirit magnifies your mercies! A person who is filled with the Holy Spirit makes more of their blessings than they make of their sorrows. This does not mean pretending that your sorrows do not exist. But when you have suffering and pain in one area of your life, you can put it alongside another area where you have been especially blessed.
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 or hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Paul had experienced the best and the worst of life in this world.
He knew what it was to be “brought low” and he knew what it was to “abound.” He knew what it was to have “plenty” and he knew what it was to be in “need.” Paul had experienced life at the top and life at the bottom. He knew the full range of human experience and he says, “In every circumstance, I have learned to be content.”
The implication of the word “learned” is that it was not always like this for Paul. He grew in contentment over time. It did not come quickly and it did not come easily, but there was growth and there was progress for him, and the same can be true for us today.
Bring to Mind the Blessings of God
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
God has given you the ability to choose where you focus your attention. What are the good things about your family? What are the good things about your church, your work, your neighborhood? Bring these to mind, especially when you are inclined to complain, and as you do, you will learn to be content.
Make more of your joys than you do of your sorrows. Make more of your gains than you do of your losses. Do this in your thinking, in your speaking, and even in your praying, and you will grow in contentment. I’ve included praying here because of what Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
If you do this, “the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (4:7).