Readings: Psalm 55, Jeremiah 17:5-10, Philippians 4:1-13, John 12:27-36
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, 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. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 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. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Paul says here he is content in all things. His experience as a disciple of Jesus has built his faith to this state of living; complete contentment, knowing he can do all things in Christ who strengthens him. This contentment and this surety have given him an added bonus; joy! This joy is relentless through all things, good times and bad times alike and brings about abiding peace in all circumstances. Contentment, joy, peace, can we live in these three?
Jesus, in John 12, tells us how: “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."
We, like Paul have been given the precious gift of the light of Christ. When we baptize, we give the newly baptized a candle to symbolize this light and say: “You have received the light of Christ, see that you keep it burning brightly all the days of your life.” We continue to kindle this flame by remaining in his presence though his Word, through prayer, and obedience to being a disciple. If we are not finding contentment, joy, and peace, perhaps we’re not being as faithful as we could be. Perhaps we’re letting the disappointments or struggles, or hurts of this life get in the way, or erode the contentment, joy and peace that living in the light brings. Press into the Lord. Ask for a refilling. Perhaps take a break from the doing and simply be in his presence. This is the perfect time of year.