Read | Philippians 4:10-13
External circumstances commonly get blamed for our feelings of irritation and anxiety. But circumstances are often simply magnifiers—events that reveal what’s already inside us. So when we find ourselves becoming short-tempered or easily worried, it is probably time to examine our hearts.
As believers, we must be keenly aware of two opposing forces: the desires of our flesh and the freedom that accompanies God’s hand of control. The limits He has set for us can be likened to freedom because they are not meant to restrict us. Rather, His wisdom brings us peace and direction. Our inherent drive to exercise our free will, however, can lead to unwise decisions, difficulties, and failures.
As we grow in spiritual maturity and realize that God can relieve the burden
of frustration in our lives, we will learn to appreciate His guidance. It is evident that the apostle Paul grasped this concept, because he wrote, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Phil. 4:11). The fact that Paul had to learn to be content suggests a process that took place over time.
Our world is certainly not a place that guarantees a state of constant contentment. Therefore, we must learn to build our trust in the Lord, to rely upon His strength, and to have confidence in His divine will for our lives. Frustration fades only in the light of His plan for our future (Jer. 29:11). And indeed, that’s the “secret” Paul learned, which enabled him to get along in any situation—namely, that we can “do all things” through Him who strengthens [us]” (Phil. 4:13).