It’s almost time for me to plug my television back in. I mean, what’s really the point of having your TV plugged in, ready to use, when there’s no football on the air, right? Ah yes, the NFL will soon consume our Sundays with first downs, touchdowns and, if you’re a Cowboys fan like me, interceptions on game-winning 4th quarter drives.
Football is the epitome of machoism. About the only time you’ll ever see a bunch of grown men hugging like elated 5 year old girls is when they’re watching a football game. Approximately half-way through the football season, someone somewhere will get up on a church stage and tell the crowd that if they were half as excited about Jesus as they are about football, the roof would be blowing off the building during the worship set. (They’re not wrong)
So this morning, as I was reading in the 4th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I came across the Bible verse made famous by Tim Tebow – “I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me.” (4:13)
Anytime we hear this verse, some kind of athletically challenging situation comes to mind. We can’t help it, these examples have been used so much that it’s the first picture we see. A guy climbing a rock, another guy scoring a touchdown, a guy running past someone else, etc.
It is sad to me that this has become the default contextual understanding of this verse, because it completely misses the real power of what Paul is writing.
I am not saying this because I am in need—for whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned to be content. I know what it is to live with humble means, and I know what it is to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment—both to be filled and to go hungry, to have abundance and to suffer need.
^ These are the two verses preceding the famous verse 13. Can you see what Messiah has given Paul the strength to do after reading these two verses in isolation of verse 13?
The strength to be CONTENT.
If there’s one thing men in 2016 have a hard time with, it is in “every circumstance” learning the “secret of contentment.”
We’re out there working for a better job, more money, a new car, a bigger house, more respect from our co-workers, family and friends. We’re shopping for a new (_____) because ours just doesn’t work as well anymore. We cheat on our spouses, thinking some other fling will be more thrilling and fulfilling. We look for work travel away from our families, because the mundane daily schedule of taking care of our kids bores us. We bury ourselves in Facebook, Instagram, website forums, etc. because it invigorates us with an alternate reality that is much more enjoyable.
If there’s a strength that men need today, it is the strength of Jesus to learn how to be content and be still! God above knows I am preaching to myself as I write this and meditate on these words from Paul!
But the strength has to come from somewhere. And contented strength does not come from more reps at the gym, longer runs in the early morning, or better performance at work. It comes from Jesus.
Strength from Messiah is the kind that keeps you hopeful when you have little, and keeps you humble when you have lots. It keeps you engaged when life is boring or exhilarating.
My prayer today is that you would have no needs – that you are content as the Lord leads you along the perfect plan He has for your life.
May you be able to do ALL things – the dishes, play with your kids, love your spouse, add value to your organization, or score a touchdown on someone’s face – through Messiah, who strengths you with contentment and peace!