Philippians 4: 10 - 20
God is Good
They say that ‘hope springs eternal in the human heart’, but there comes a time when recurring disappointment can lead to despair. ‘If God is good then why did this or that happen (or not happen)?’ ‘Why did He let me down?’
We’ve looked at the need to nip such thoughts in the bud and not allow them to take hold of our minds where they will fester and affect our emotions. Writing in his book ‘Christ Empowered Living’, Selwyn Hughes points out that the line the devil took in tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was ‘to insinuate a doubt into Eve’s mind concerning the goodness of God. Once that doubt is entertained it soon affects the way she felt about God in her emotions. Then doubting God and disliking God (because of His limitation on her freedom) the next step is disobedience’. That disobedience led to rebellion (sin) and its consequence was separation from God.
In the verses we have read today, Paul reminds us that God is good and that God’s goodness is often demonstrated through the actions of friends who love us and express that love through practically caring for our needs. Paul knew what it was to be in need, but he had learnt an important and invaluable lesson that we all need to learn and relearn - ‘the secret of being content in every situation’ (v12). He had also learnt that he could do this and ‘everything through [Christ] who gives me strength’ (v13).
Just as we need to learn to distinguish between needs and wants, so we need to discern the difference between attempting to do ‘all things’ (which can lead to burnout) and doing the things that Christ has asked us to do (which leads to fulfilment). When we are living in the knowledge that God is good, that He does supply all our needs and that we can do all the things that He asks us to, we like Paul can ‘rejoice greatly in the Lord’ (v10).
Prayer and Action
Read and meditate on Psalm 103.
Look back over your life and rejoice in the ways in which you have experienced the goodness of God and give Him thanks.
Ask God to show you what are the things He wants you to be doing today and set about doing them. Remember, He demands obedience, not necessarily success, in all that you attempt for Him.
Write a letter or email a friend and thank them for being a practical demonstration of the goodness of God to you.