Melanie and I start our mornings with a handful of devotional material (usually including her own book). This morning’s assortment included the Lenten series from Trinity School of Ministry. The student contributor began with
Philippians 4:11 I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it.
I stopped reading right there while that verse clanged around my head. I was reading it out loud, but could I honestly say it? I realize happiness and contentment are two different things. I am not happy with the state I am in. I don’t think I’m supposed to be. But am I content with it, as long as this is a day made by the Lord?
I was still chewing on that as we listened to the Jesuits at their web page. Their Scripture reading today was the account of Jesus facing Satan’s temptations in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). As I listened, I realized those three temptations defined the boundaries of the ministry season he was about to enter.
Why didn’t Jesus heal everybody? (There were times, like at the Pool of Bethesda, where he only healed one out of the crowd.) Healing these physical bodies is like feeding them. He did that, too, but we are to live beyond the mere natural level of our lives.
Why did Jesus tell so many to not publicize their healings? Because applause from crowds was not why he came.
Why did he refuse to leap from the Temple in an attention-getting stunt? Because he was there to fulfill his Father’s plans, not his own. Jesus was content to fulfill those.
I’m pondering what this lesson has to teach me about things to give up for Lent and simply being content with the state I am in.