Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Be Independent of All Circumstance

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"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7).

After reading this beautiful passage, I feel it sums up all what I am about to say. It is amazing when you discover how God already knows what your heart and mind need before you even think of it. You will always discover that God will allows supply what we need before we discover it ourselves.

Often we remember the old days and think about how life was simpler then and how people were content with their life and with what they had. Is that really true?

We all wonder from time to time what the word content means.

  • Does it mean the one who has little is more content than the one who has much?
  • Is the poor person content?
  • Is the rich person content?

What people were content with yesterday is different with what people are content with today. Why? Simply because the fast technology and the way we are living differ now than how it had been. But it does not mean they did not have sinful desires, greed, wanting more of life, and other problems. Now we face much more problems due to the computer, television, and the fast media. We know everything is happening around the world in seconds and whatever sin was hidden then and people were embarrassed to talk about is now in the open.

Is it wrong to be rich and to want better life for yourself and your family? Of course not, God created all kinds of people and all kinds of situations and status. People who own nothing, they live a simple life, serve others, etc. But are they content. Does that make them happy and better than others or are they angry, resentful, and full of complaints?

On the other hand people who own properties, buildings, and businesses have born with great talents, professionals, etc. But are they happy and content? Do they live for themselves only and want others to serve them or do they give to the needy and poor and also think about others' needs?

Contentment is to be joyful, in peace, in fulfillment despite what circumstances you have.

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know how abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

We come to this world naked and we also leave this world naked, so whatever we accumulate in this life we leave behind. We often hear people say those who do not have money or those who have money, "If only I can have a little bit more money..." That is okay and nothing wrong of wanting to improve your status and buy a house, a new car, find a good school for your kids, and maybe go on vacation from time to time but the problem is when money becomes your goal in life.

"For the love is the money is the root of all evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:10-12).

When we look at St. Paul's life and how much he endured from pain, whipping, being cold and hungry, and going to prison, we see that despite all that he was full of joy, fulfillment and integrity. Why did St. Paul feel this way? Because the grace of God was upon him. He did not feel the need of anything else.But we also see him in:

"For we don't want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia; that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10).

Why did St. Paul despair? Is he contradicting what he said and did before? Of course he is not. He did not mind his own suffering, but he was afflicted by the people's consolation and salvation and his hope for the people to walk in a steadfast manner.

Now the question we like to know, how can we gain contentment?

No one is born with contentment but rather we learn it by reading the Holy Bible, praying, asking the Holy Spirit to help us to achieve it, and being determined to control our temperament and practicing contentment in what we buy, what we eat, and how we dress (through controlling our desires). Also it is through accepting all circumstances "sickness and loss of positions, etc.” And it is through praising God in everything; both in good times and bad times.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:33-34).

It does not matter if you are poor or rich, the more we seek God in our lives the more our spiritual life will grow and help us to see the hand of God in everything we do and help us and strengthen us to fight temptations and learn to be content which will lead us to joy, peace, and victory all the way.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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