Research has indicated that many find the middle of January to be the most depressing time of the year. The holiday cheer has faded and the bills accumulated for it are arriving. The cold and dark of winter persists and there doesn’t seem to be much on the calendar to look forward to. This interesting statistic serves as a microcosm of what happens when peace and contentment is found in our transient external circumstances.

When pleasure and purpose is based on circumstance, our emotion and direction shift with the winds of change. John 6 describes a cheering crowd enthralled by a miraculous free meal abandoning Jesus when confronted with the cost of discipleship. Shouts of Hosanna! in John 12 quickly transform to Crucify Him! in John 19 when it appealed to people’s immediate self-interest. Certainly, this unstable fluidity has persisted in our times. The temptation to let our internal state be dictated by our external circumstances remains strong.

Despite this, we have the opportunity to find our contentment in our internal condition, rather than our external circumstances. God’s Word exemplifies this unwavering state in Philippians 4:11-12, where Paul writes

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

To have contentment in spite of circumstances! How can this culturally laughable concept be true? The passage goes on to famously reveal the singular ingredient, in Philippians 4:13 declaring,

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

The internal and dynamic presence of Christ in our lives is more powerful than any external circumstance that we may face. What Good News in such a chaotic world!

As you engage this time of year, be encouraged by the reminder that none of the challenges you pray for can overcome the One that walks with you. He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). The One who lives in us and works through us is always on mission to bring the peace and contentment of His Kingdom to earth.

Jeff Baxter

✍️ Credit :: Joel MacFarland
Care Pastor

Matt Rhodes

🎨 Credit :: Colin McFarland
Digital Marketing Manager