Philippians 4:10-13 (NIV)

10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:11 (NIV)

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

DEVOTION – Heather Harshman (California)

As I drive to a friend’s house, I notice a new sporting goods store.  I think about the great sales they must have for their grand opening and all of the fun things I could buy for camping.  Then I turn my thoughts to the next day:  Ash Wednesday.

This holy day marks a time when I try to think about moderation.  Living in moderation is a daily challenge for me.  From grocery shopping, to eating, to going to new stores, it is difficult to eat and purchase only what is necessary without splurging on a little more here and there.

As I approach the store, my thoughts shift to the apostle Paul, who learned to be content in all circumstances.  He was satisfied whether he was feasting or starving, whether he had many possessions or none.  Having an excess of goods or of food clutters my life – body, soul, and mind – without providing any lasting deep-rooted happiness.  They require time and energy to maintain, which distracts me from nurturing my relationship with God.

I turn my eyes back to the road and pass the new store.  Today I will make an effort to live more freely, with less stuff to hold me down and distract me from God.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Living in moderation frees up space in our hearts for God.

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, keep our thoughts centered on you by removing distractions from our lives.  May we give attention and energy to your work today.  Amen.