2. The problem with this image is that it takes a very wonderful verse out of context just by superimposing it on a photo that isn’t relevant to the message Apostle Paul had for the Philippians. Paul’s message was not really about exercise or physical feats.
3. If you read the whole book of Philippians, you’ll understand that this verse isn’t a cliché to inspire your workouts.
4. Paul was writing from prison! And he wanted the Philippians to know that despite his current circumstances, he was content. Take a look at the context.
5. Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV)
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
*Note: We know Paul means “God” when he uses the pronoun “Him” because of the verses preceding. (And well, all of Paul’s writings.)
7. Here is a better example. Have you ever walked home in the rain because you can’t afford a car? I know I have! It frustrated me and I felt discontented. That’s the kind of situation Paul is talking about. So this photo would be a better background.
8. See, if the Apostle Paul could learn contentment while in prison and with his life under threat, then surely I can learn contentment too.
9. When the vending machine takes my last dollar and I’m very hungry, I want to pray for contentment.
10. When everything I own seems to break, and I have no money to replace them, I want to pray for contentment.
11. When life is just confusing, and I just don’t understand what’s going on. Like why is there a kiddie pool in the crosswalk? That’s when I want to pray for contentment.
12. When I have so much but I happen to walk by someone who has more than me, that’s when I want to pray for contentment.
13. For however long I am privileged enough to live in this incredible city, I want to pray for contentment.
*Granted, all of these images, if viewed alone, may lead you to some wrong conclusions about the verse. But I use them facetiously just to make a point about Paul’s context here. Paul’s context is important. And the topic is contentment.