The Essential C’s
Written by Lyli Dunbar (First 5 Ministries)
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
In early 2020, the world became acutely aware of the challenges that can arise from a global pandemic. Grocery store shelves soon became bare of what we think of as essentials and many people were left feeling unprepared and vulnerable.
In today’s reading, Paul cautioned Christ followers to live armed with the strength of the Lord so they would not be caught off guard by crises. As a result, we can trust God will empower us with exactly what we need for whatever unexpected trial may loom on the horizon. Whether the sun shines or a storm darkens our day, we can choose to stay in the Word and strive to live a life worthy of the gospel.
Empowered disciples are not inattentive or defenseless, they prepare for trouble. Let’s purpose to follow this wise counsel and make three essential C’s a daily habit in our lives:
Look around and demonstrate concern. (Philippians 4:10) After emerging from a barren season, the revitalized church in Philippi enthusiastically reached out to support Paul in his role as a minister of the gospel. They did not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9-10) and looked for an opportunity to encourage a brother in Christ. Our selfless generosity during difficult times can help advance God’s Kingdom work and make an eternal difference.
Look within and learn contentment. (Philippians 4:11-12) Paul suffered a great deal as a disciple of Christ, but he discovered God’s grace was sufficient for his weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:24-30; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10) He had surrendered all to follow Jesus, and every challenging experience had taught him God’s provision would sustain him. No outward circumstance can eradicate our peace when we have placed Christ in our lives.
Look upward and pursue Christ. (Philippians 4:13) The strength of Jesus was the secret to Paul’s success in every situation. Because the power of the resurrected Christ indwells each believer, His Holy Spirit continually empowers us with the supernatural fortitude we need to meet each moment. (Romans 8:11; Philippians 3:10-12) For those whose greatest passion is to know Jesus, earthly pleasures lose their allure. (1 Timothy 6:6-7) We have been delivered from darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of our Savior, and now we live strengthened “… for all endurance and patience with joy.” (Colossians 1:11-13)
Discipleship does not mean we live immune from trouble, but Christ’s almighty presence will influence every moment of our lives. Whatever may happen, we can rest in the care of our all-powerful Savior who upholds us with His righteous right hand and never forsakes us. (Isaiah 41:10) In Jesus, we will always find the essential strength we need to face even the most unanticipated circumstances.