Practice Regular Praise

I have received everything in full and have an abundance.
–Philippians 4:18

One of Paul’s secrets for contentment was that he practiced regular praise. In Philippians 4:18, he said: “I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.” The phrase “I have received everything in full” literally means, “I have been paid in full.” In other words, Paul was saying, “You know that gift you sent to me? I’m paid in full. I have everything I need.” Now, quite frankly, the financial gift from the Philippians probably wasn’t that large. It likely didn’t give Paul enough money to buy a new chariot or a new wardrobe. But he was saying to the Philippian believers, “Even though your gift might not give me everything I want, I have everything I need. And I thank you and I thank God for His provision through you.”

One of the key ingredients to living above your circumstances is praising God for what He has already given you instead of focusing on what He may not have given you. Thankfulness and contentment go hand in hand. One of the biggest decisions you have to make in life is what you’re going to focus on. Will you choose to focus on what God has already given you, or will you choose to focus on the things you don’t yet have? You cannot be truly thankful to God for His blessings in your life and be discontent at the same time. Paul understood that. So he practiced regular praise, thanking God for what God had already provided.

One time I came across the words of a bishop who was talking about his secret for maintaining joy and happiness in life. And this is what he said: “[Happiness] consists in nothing more than making a right use of my eyes. In whatever state I am in, I first of all look up to heaven and remember that my principal business here is to get there. Then I look down upon the earth and I call to mind how small a place I shall occupy in it when I die and am buried. And then I look around in the world and observe the multitudes there who were in many respects more unhappy than myself. Thus I learned where true happiness is placed and where all of our cares must end and what little reason I have to complain.”

That’s a great secret. Make a right use of your eyes by focusing on what you already have instead of what you don’t have. That’s the way Paul learned how to live above his circumstances and maintain outrageous joy, regardless of his circumstances.

***
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When You Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Paul Lee Tan, “Correct Use of the Eyes,” Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, 1996), 836.

Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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