“…for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
In this epistle of joy, the epistle to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul exhorts us, “Delight in Jesus. Learn to derive your joy from knowing Him.” Paul uses the word ‘joy’ again and again. What he’s really saying to us in the conditions in which he’s living is simply this:
“Learn to derive your joy from your relationship to Jesus Christ. Learn to delight in Him.”
What is the source of your happiness? In what do you delight? If you delight in your health, well, you’re on thin ice. What would you do if you lost your health? If you delight in money, what would you do if you lost everything? If you delight in your loved ones, and many, many people do, what are you going to do when you lose them?
It’s because God loves us that God tells us things like this, “Delight in Me. Learn to derive your joy from knowing Me.” That’s the source of joy. And so that should be our delight.
That’s the reason Paul could have peace, even in the dungeon, even when he was in prison, no matter what the circumstances were, the reason he could say, “I’m ready for anything. I have learned how to live when everything is good, and I have learned how to live when everything is bad.” Here is one of the big keys: Paul’s delight was the Lord, and the Lord was the Source of his happiness.
Not what he had or didn’t have.
Dick Woodward, (Ben Lippen Retreat, 1979)