While preaching through the epistle to the Philippians, I have began to notice the theme of thankfulness which Paul explains throughout the letter. You see, Paul’s aim in the letter to the Philippian church was to bring back to them unity and peace through the proposition that you can rejoice, regardless of your circumstance.
Let me explain:
In the later parts of Philippians, specifically chapters 3 and 4, we find Paul’s formula for thankfulness:
“In addition, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord” (3:1);
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice” (4:4);
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (4:6);
“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself” (4:11);
“I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need” (4:12).
I’m deeply persuaded, from Paul’s language in Philippians 3 and 4, that Paul’s secret to thankfulness is contentment regardless of circumstance. Did you notice how Paul’s language was not self-centered? Did you see that Paul’s language was not centered on others either?
Paul’s language here is focused on contentment – NOT circumstance. You see, Paul’ isn’t writing this letter from the beach while watching the waves crash in front of him. No, Paul is writing this letter from prison, possibly awaiting execution. So, what’s the secret?
Paul’s secret to thankfulness is contentment regardless of circumstance. It’s joy, even in prison. Paul’s secret is thankfulness to the Lord because he can request and petition God and not fear judgment.
And you can too, friend. You can ask God anything you want. Your situation does not dictate your attitude.
So, in this weird year of 2020, be thankful anyway. It’s biblical.