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Miranda Writes: The Secret to Contentment, Part 1




by Omar Miranda

If you think itís having more stuff, youíre going to be disappointed.

“I can do all things, all things, all things, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” sang my daughter while jumping up and down with her eyes closed, swinging her pink and purple pom-poms in my face. When she finished, her mother and I exploded into applause and general parent mayhem. The text she was singing, Philippians 4:13, is good news in itself, but when read within the larger context of the passage it’s in—well, it’s even better news.

What’s the context, you ask? We’ll get to it in a little bit. Don’t get ahead of the story!

Several years ago my daughter and I began to memorize Bible texts that were important to us. Philippians 4:13 was the second one she memorized; the first was John 3:16, of course. I know that you just said the verse to yourself as soon as you read this. I love playing with your heads!

I find it interesting that teenagers—at least in this country—have a difficult time being satisfied or contented with themselves, the world, the stuff they have—basically everything! It seems that nothing is ever enough for them—and truthfully, it’s the same for us adults as well. I just read this post from an anonymous teen with the screen name “han,” who wrote:

“OK, I have loads of silly little problems, but when I look at my life, I’m probably one of the luckiest people in this world. So why am I never fulfilled? I always want something more. I’m just so spoiled. But I have an idea of the perfect life and I won’t accept anything less. I try new things and have fun and all, but what’s the point? Sometimes it all feels so pointless. I feel so depressed, but the worst part is knowing I have absolutely no right to be depressed. I just don’t see the point in life. It’s not hurtful . . . it’s just never-ending boredom.”1 

Do you hear the sheer frustration, boredom, dissatisfaction, depression, and ultimate meaninglessness? I’m sure you have friends who feel the same way. Hey, maybe you feel that way too! So what do you do about it? Is there a solution—something of substance that can fill the hole in our souls? The answer is yes, and you won’t be surprised when I tell you. It’s . . . you guessed it: Jesus!

Remember I told you about the good news of Philippians 4:13, but there’s better news, and it’s found in the verses that come before it and after it. In these verses we’ll find the solutions to (as they say in the South) “what ails ya.” Let’s start with verse 11:

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. . . . And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (verses 11-19, NLT).2

Did you catch it? Paul says that the secret to contentment is found in Jesus. That’s simple and yet very profound. You have to understand where Paul was when he was writing this letter. He was in jail! Paul wrote to encourage the Christians of Philippi in their faith during his imprisonment in a Roman prison. In the midst of being in shackles, possibly chained up to other people, without clean water, electricity, Hot Pockets, cable TV, Facebook, the Internet, Wii, or anything else, he wrote that he had learned the secret of being content. Listen, I can understand if you don’t want to take my word for it on how to be contented, but if you don’t listen to Paul, then I can’t help you.

Then in verse 19 of that same passage, Paul again repeats his main point (for those of us who have ADD): the same God who took care of Paul so long ago can take care of us. Not only can He take care of us, but He is able to supply ALL OUR NEEDS! Praise God! One of Jesus’ disciples named Matthew put it like this: “But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well” (Matthew 6:33, CEV).3

Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes—and, by the way, the wisest person who’s ever lived—wrote these deep words: “All of life is far more boring than words could ever say. Our eyes and our ears are never satisfied with what we see and hear. Everything that happens has happened before; nothing is new, nothing under the sun. Someone might say, ‘Here is something new!’ But it happened before, long before we were born. No one who lived in the past is remembered anymore, and everyone yet to be born will be forgotten too” (Ecclesiastes 1:8-11, CEV).

If we are too focused on having things, we can get to the point where we’re always looking for the next best, newest, biggest, fastest, blah, blah, blah, blah. But in the end, just as Solomon said, we will never be satisfied. But if we focus our attention not on having more stuff but on having more of a relationship with a person (and not just any person—Jesus), then we’ll never be disappointed. We’ll find that we indeed won’t be empty or thirsty, for Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life” (John 4:13, 14, Message).4

I don’t know about you, but, as the old Southern gospel song says, I want to “drink out of my saucer because my cup is runnin’ over.”

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

    1Downloaded on 3/2/11 from http://www.golivewire.com/forums/peer-eoinib-support-a.html.
    2Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
    3Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
    4Texts credited to Message are from The Message.  Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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