How to Have Greener Grass NOW - Philippians 4:10-13 - Skip Heitzig
Hello. And welcome to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. We pray that this message encourages you. And if it does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give.
It's tempting to believe that other people's circumstances are better than your own. That includes where you live, the place work, who you're married to and the body type that you have. As we continue our series Technicolor Joy, Skip uncovers three basic principles to debunk that theory. Now please open your Bible to Philippians chapter four as he begins the message how to have a greener grass now.
Welcome. Would you turn in your Bibles please to the book of Philippians chapter four? We are close to the end of this book like we are close to the end of this year. But I have to say, don't get your hopes up too high again because the year will run out before the book will run out. We have yet another section to look at next time, but we're close. We're going to begin in verse 10 in just a little bit.
Most of you have heard or have seen the story of Oliver Twist. No doubt you've seen the movie, maybe you've even read Charles Dickens book by that name. And when Charles Dickens wrote the book Oliver Twist He was writing against social injustice of child labor in 1830s England. But the story is about a little boy with no name. Somebody names him Oliver Twist in the orphanage. They didn't know his mother's name, they didn't know his name. Somebody comes up with a name.
For the first nine years of his life this young boy spends time in this orphanage before he is put into an adult workhouse. Desperate conditions, he's always lonely and tired and cold and hungry. And one particular meal where all the kids are at the tables eating this glop that's in their bowl, at barely enough to subsist on that young boy makes the major gaffe. He grabs the bowl, gets out of his seat, walks up to the overfed overseer and says, please, sir, I want some more. Remember that scene?
So it was as if he had committed a capital crime because he asked for more. Now what he did out of poverty and legitimately has sort of become the American anthem. Please, sir, we want some more. Does not take long in this life before people, even as children, learn the fine art of being discontent. They want more. They want more than what they have. I mean, there's got to be more. I need to have more. And other people have more, why can't I have more?
So the grass is always greener in the next lawn. The traffic is always faster in the next lane. People are always happier in the next state and life is always better with the next person. You may have heard about the two teardrops that were floating down the river of life. And they had a conversation. One teardrop said to the other, she said, I am a tear of a woman who loved a man and lost him. And the second teardrop said, well, I'm a tear of the woman that got him.
So either way, bad news. I found an article this week. It was called Discontent in Prosperous America. It was all about how Americans have more than ever before, but are more discontented than ever before. But we live at the best time in history, but we have the worst attitude in history. So in this article, the author said the income of the average American has risen drastically in real terms in the last 40 years.
The average American home is 1,000 square feet bigger than it used to be 40 years ago despite the fact that our families are smaller. The average American diet has 500 more calories per person than it was 40 years ago. I think that shows. The average American turned a wheel multiple times to call someone 40 years ago. Now we have smart phones that give us access to virtually any medical information or person in the world, and it fits into the palm of our hand.
Life expectancy has gone up over a decade in the last 40 years. Emissions have plummeted in the last 40 years. He went on and on and on to describe how good we now have it, but how poorly we respond to it. Then he asked this question, does the average American realize that they live more materially comfortable than the czars of Russia did 100 years ago?
So as we stand at the end of one year on the verge of another year, what is our attitude? Is our attitude like, please God, I want some more? What is it that we feel we need more of? Some would say I need a better car, others would say I need a bigger home, others might say I want a better husband, others might say a couple zeros at the end of my paycheck would help.
With that as sort of a background, we go now to our text in Philippians chapter four beginning in verse 10. I want to set the stage a little bit just for the understanding of the text. What we discover as we look at the life of Paul is that he planted a church in Philippi of Macedonia because he had received division from a man of Macedonia saying come over to Macedonia and help us. He was in Troas on the coast, the Mediterranean, Aegean coast.
He went from there, went to Philippi, planted a church. It was difficult. Eventually it was prosperous, it grew, it was vibrant. He had a beautiful relationship with this group of people. And in fact, they at one time supported Paul and his ministry. They financially supported him, they gave him things that he needed while he was in Macedonia and after that. But several years passed since that time until this time that he writes the letter.
But now something happened, and Paul addresses what has happened. A guy from Philippi named Epaphroditus traveled about 800 miles from Philippi to where Paul was in prison in Rome and gave him a financial gift, probably a care package of some sort that would help him. Maybe clothes, et cetera. And he is thanking them for that and mentioning that.
So that is a background. Look at verse 10, Philippians chapter four verse 10. I'm going to read all the way down to verse 18 for the sake of context. "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Nevertheless you have done well that you have shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
Indeed, I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God." We're going to look at just verse 10 through 13 this morning. And I'd like to point out three principles that are going to help your satisfaction level rise. If you could, if we could get these principles into our new year we will have more joy in the next 12 months than we have had in the past 12 months.
Three easy principles. Be contented or be connected, be content and be confident. Be connected to God's people, be content with God's provision, be confident in God's power. Those are the three principles that emerge from these verses that we look at. Let's begin with the first in verse 10. be connected to God's people. Paul writes, "but I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again, though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity."
OK. So a decade has passed. 10 years have passed from the time Paul went to Philippi to plant the church and got thrown into Philippian jail and got beat up. You know the story. You remember that from the book of X. 10 years have passed. At first they were able to support Paul even when he left Philippi, went over to Thessalonica. They sent aid as he said a couple of different times. Supported him through that, but something happened. And we don't even know what it was that happened. They lost touch somehow.
So they lacked the opportunity to continue that support. And this is what Paul is addressing now, they have reconnected. And they were reconnected because a guy from Philippi named Epaphroditus, an ambassador of that church, finds Paul in jail and says, Paul, here's something from the church and Philippi to tide you over. We want to support you again. We want to help you out. Here's a care package, here's some financial help for you. And they do it to help him.
There's an old Chinese proverb that says if you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, go inherit a fortune. But if you want happiness for a lifetime, go help someone. So their joy and Paul's joy rises as he gets help from them. When you connect with God's people, two things will happen. When you make meaningful connections with God's people, two things will happen.
It will produce joy and it will produce encouragement. First of all, it'll produce joy. Notice that Paul says, "but I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again." So part of the joy that Paul is getting is in this reconnection made with the fellowship of this church at Philippi. I have a question.
What group are you connected to consistently? Not what group do you come sporadically to observe and loosely be a part of, but what group do you consistently attach yourself to? Who brings you joy by caring for you? So it's 2:00 in the morning, something has happened, your life comes crashing down, who do you call? Is there some small group leader you could call? Some group of people that could be easily connected to be around you, praying you through this time?
And I bring this up because the Bible frequently brings this up. It seems that in the modern church there are many believers who are not belongers. Oh, they believe all the right things and there is a relationship with God. And it's true. It's authentic. They're believers, but not belongers. They miss the joy of consistent fellowship.
And it's not entirely the fault of individuals, sometimes it is helped to be produced by the institution of the church itself, because I have noticed over the years that many churches love to boast about their membership role that doesn't really reflect who attends the church. So they love to boast, we have 400 members in our roster, but 40 actually go.
There is even an old joke about three pastors who got together. All of them had the same problem. There were bats living in the church building in the attic of all three churches. So one pastor said, I have bats. I try to get rid of them all year long. I can't do it. I put noisemakers up there, I sent cats up there, but the bats still live in the attic of the church that I pastor.
And the second pastor said, we have the same problem, and I've tried to fumigate. I've tried everything we can, but those bats still live there. The third pastor said, well, gentlemen, we used to have bats in our church attic. I fixed the problem. They said, well, please, pray tell. What's the answer? He said, well, I baptize them all, made them church members and they haven't been back since.
And unfortunately, we sort of create this spiritual drifter mentality by just saying, just put your name on the roster. And that's all that is required. But when you connect with God's people, it produces joy. A second thing it will do when you connect with God's people, it produces encouragement to go on.
I think that really is the thought of this whole section for Paul. He needed encouragement. He saw this as an encouragement, a validation so to speak of his ministry. I think that's behind the words when he says that, "last your care has flourished for me again. Though you surely did care, but you lacked the opportunity." Those words lacked opportunities, literally means a good season or a good time.
For whatever reason, and we don't know the reason, but for whatever reason they supported him at first and then it wasn't the right time. It wasn't the right season. And now it is. And one of the things that I love about Paul is that he never tried to guilt people into giving. He never tried to use high pressure techniques saying if you don't give to my ministry, God's going to turn around and leave town. And he never cajoled people.
And over the years I've watched, I've read letters from ministers who pour on all sorts of tactics to get people to feel guilty. I even saw one guy on television, this is years ago in Los Angeles, and probably half of his broadcast he was talking about, we need to up the budget. We need your help. You got to give today or we're going to go broke.
So one broadcast he actually turned around, said I'm going to preach the rest of my message this way because the finances I said we needed have not come in. By the way, that's just a cool logo right there, joy. I'm looking at it for the first time. Anyway, he preached this way, the whole message because the money didn't come in. I actually thought that was his best side.
But note what Paul says. He goes, "your care has flourished for me again." Now, that word flourish means revived or blossomed or to sprout. It was a word used of a barren tree changing from winter time to springtime. The air is warmer, the sunshine is more copious, there's more moisture, and that tree begins to change and revive, flourish, blossom, sprout.
So Paul is encouraged by their recent giving to him. And he sees this as fruit validating his ministry. I am called to this. This is in the will of God for me. I'll never forget when I first moved from California to New Mexico. And it was a scary time because I didn't know what to expect. I just announced I'm moving east to plant a church.
So as I moved, there was a church in Cypress, California that gave us a check for $1,000 saying, we just want you to know we believe God is calling you to be a church planter. I mean, I almost shook when I held that $1,000 check, that man, I'm responsible before God. And it was such a confirmation that we're making the right move. Let's go for it.
So be connected to God's people. Second, be content with God's provision. Verse 11 and 12, he continues, not that I speak in regard to need for I have learned in whatever state I am, even the state of New Mexico, to be content. I know how to be abased, I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Now, there's a lot in these two verses. And this is a very famous excerpt. I had a man come to me last night saying, oh, this is my favorite text in the Bible. But I want you to sort of drill down with me. Notice a couple of thing. Notice that contentment, that's really the subject of these two verses, that contentment isn't related to necessity because Paul says, "not that I speak in regard to need or necessity."
In other words, my needs may be met, but my needs may not be met. And if my needs are not met, I just want you to know I'm still going to be content, that it's irrespective of having my needs met. It's a funny thing when we talk about our needs. It's funny what things we regard as being needful. Have you discovered that? I really need that TV. It's a need. I couldn't survive without it.
100 years ago the average American could produce a list of 70 things that he or she needed. Today, that number is well over 500 needs the average person has. I wonder if we don't know how to tell the difference between what's a need and what's a greed. And the greed has now become a need. It happens everywhere.
I've been to Israel now many times. And the first time I went to Israel, I notice these people that live in tents. They're called Bedouins. They're all throughout the southern part of the land in Judea. And Bedouins live in tents. Animal hair tents, black tents. And they travel as a community of tent dwellers together still to this day, in modern day.
They have flocks, like goats and sheep. And they'll move around depending on where they can find pasture land for their animals. So I always love to point the Bedouins out to people that go to Israel. You're going to look now to the side of the road and you're going to see people that lived like Abraham did. So they kind of see the tents in the distance.
But one time we're traveling around and we go around a corner and we see this tent community, and out of a couple of tents we notice a television aerial, antenna going up. I thought, interesting, this has now become a need for the Bedouin people. A television set. Look at the word content in these verses.
I have learned in whatever state I am to be content. Altar-case is the word. Altar-case means contained. I have learned to be contained, self-sufficient, it could be translated. Satisfied would be another translation, or enough.
A person can say I have enough. Interest in word. It was used by the Greek stoics. If you remember your philosophy class, you know that the stoics were a subset of Greek philosophers who believed that you can get to a point where you don't need anyone or anything, and you will not have any emotional response even to the worst things in life. That was their aim. Their aim was independence from any need for any help.
That's the word Paul uses, but that is not what Paul meant by the word that he uses. What he means is that if people help him, great, I'll be connected to those people. I'll see that as fruit. I'll be joyful because of that connection. But if they do not, God will provide.
I'm still contained, I'm still content. So what is Psalm 23 say? You know it by heart. "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. There's nothing I need because the Lord is my shepherd." Hebrews 13, the writer says, "let our conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have."
How could he say that? How could he say be content with what you have? Here's why. He finishes the verse by saying, "for he himself has said, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you, so we may boldly say the Lord is my helper. I will not fear what can man do to me." What all of these verses tell me are the same thing: that contentment does not come from what we have, it comes from whom we have.
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want." The Lord has said I will never leave you or forsake you. If you provide, great, if not, the Lord will provide. So contentment is not related to necessity. There's something else about contentment. Notice in the verse, contentment does not depend on quantity. Notice where Paul is in his description.
Look at these words: abased, that's really low; abound, that's really high; fall, really high; hungry, really low. So Paul says sometimes life is like this: up and down, high and low. But it doesn't matter. And it's not a matter of having more creature comforts, it's not a matter of having more disposable income because Paul is saying I've lived on both sides of that equation.
Look at the word full in our verse. That word was used of the feeding and fattening of animals. Paul said, I've lived a fat life before. I lived a full life like a fattened animal who ate really well. If you think about the way Paul grew up, he grew up having plenty. He was educated in private schools, he reached status among his contemporaries as a Pharisee.
But then look at the word abased. Can you think of a time when Paul was ever abased? How about right here when he's writing this from jail not knowing if he's going to live or die? That's pretty abased. And how did he get there? On a grain ship in the slave galley that got shipwrecked and had to get on another boat just to make it to Rome. That's pretty abased.
In other words, Paul said I had status. I lost it all. It's interesting that most people who lose everything get very, very depressed. If you think back to the 1929 stock crash, not that you remember that, but you've read about it. I remember reading things that it was so devastating because that brought on the Great Depression. That's one of the factors for that.
But when that stock market crashed in 1929, some executives jumped out of their office windows to their deaths at the thought that they lost everything. They lost it all. And see, that is the illusion, that's the deception. The deception is that more cash will bring more contentment. Man, if I have a lot, life will be easy. I'll be happy with that many zeros at the end of the paycheck. That's an illusion, that's a deception.
Hey, here's a statistic I wanted to share with you. Last year, Americans spent $70 billion on lottery tickets. I'm not going to ask if you buy lottery tickets. I don't care. But it's interesting that we spend last year as Americans $70 billion on lottery tickets. That's more than we spent on sports tickets, on books, video games, movie tickets and music combined. Combined, $70 billion.
Why? Because people believe there's a chance that I could win, and there's a chance that in winning I'm going to find real happiness and I'm going to have it so good. Oh, and I want to help others. I'm going to get this money and I'm going to help so many people and help myself a little bit, as well. And I'm going to be so happy.
Now, I'm sure I don't even have to tell you, you have read or heard of the opposite being true. You've heard story after story of people who won lotteries and their life went to the tank. Article in Time magazine I found on how winning the lottery can actually make you miserable. It cited several examples. Here's just one. Just one.
one man went broke four years after winning $315 million dollars. How do you lose $315 million in four years? He did it. And he lost a daughter and a granddaughter to drug overdoses, he said directly related to his winnings. He was robbed of over a half a million dollars while sitting in his car. And he said, I don't like what I have become. I wish I would have just torn up that ticket instead.
Boy, that sounds a lot like what Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke, when he said, "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses." So contentment is not related to necessity, contentment does not depend on quantity. But here's something else I want you to look at in the text and notice. Contentment is a learned ability. It's a learned ability. So before you go, man, I wish I was blessed with the gift of contentment. It's not a gift.
It's a learned skill because look what he says, "for I have learned," verse 11, "in whatever state I am to be content," verse 12, "I know how to be abased. I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry." That is so encouraging to me because I'm still learning. I'm still in the process. I haven't graduated yet. It's something we learn.
There was a monastery in Spain, and if you want to join the monastery to be an initiate as a young monk, you had to take a vow of silence. This is a monastery where you don't say a word, you just contemplate. Now, that'd be very difficult for some of us to be able to do. Can you imagine me not talking for two years?
So the idea is that every two years you get to say two words. So this young guy joined the monastery. He was there for six years total. So two years went by, didn't say a word. After two years, he went before the head priest and he got to say his two words. And his two words were food terrible. Couldn't say two more words for another two. Two years more passed by. He goes again to the head priest and this time his two words were bed lumpy.
So he's had a rough four years. But he hangs it out for another two years and he comes back to the head priest and his two words are now, I quit. And that head priest said, I'm not surprised because all you've done since you've arrived is complain, complain, complain. Hey, have you noticed how easy it is to complain in life, that complaining is like second nature grumbling pointing out the faults of people or things? It just comes so second nature. It's so easy to do.
Just stand around the coffee maker at work and listen to the conversations, as people will trash and talk down the company. They complain, students complain about teachers, athletes complain about coaches, shoppers complain about parking, everybody complains about traffic. So contentment isn't related to necessity, it doesn't depend on quantity. It's a learned ability. A learned ability.
Now I want to give you a few tips on how to learn it better, how to get ahead of the learning curve. First of all, avoid comparisons. It'll get you every time. Once you start looking at what others have or are doing compared to you, you start comparing yourself. It's downhill because comparison robs you of contentment and promotes covetousness.
Second Corinthians, chapter 10 verse 12, "we do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." Cute little story about a pocket watch in London, England who looked up and saw Big Ben overlooking the Thames River by the parliament building in London. And he looked up, and he said, oh, I wish I could be up that high. I wish that I could be over all these people and I could serve more people.
So somebody gave the little pocket watch its wish, and with the string it hoisted it up all the way, all the way, all the way up. But by the time it got all the way up to where that Big Ben clock was, nobody could see it. It was so small. And the moral of the story is its elevation became its annihilation. So avoid comparison.
A second tip on contentment, lower expectation. Some people expect too much. They feel entitled. And when you live an entitled life, always expecting more, you never stop to appreciate what you have. You get robbed of thankfulness. First Timothy chapter six, "godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it. If we have food and clothing, with these we will be content."
Most of us are not part of the jet set. Most of us are part of the debt set. And the more you try to get into the jet set, the more you're going to become part of the debt set. So lower your expectation, avoid comparisons, lower expectations. Here's a third tip: adjust to alterations. Adjust to alteration.
Article after article I read on happiness said people who are the happiest in life learn to take the bumps, the highs and the lows together, they adjust with it. They learn how to make adjustments in their life. So Paul describes several different experiences in verse 12, ups and downs. Abounding is great. But when you're abounding, know that you could also be abased. Learn to adjust, avoid comparisons, lower expectations, adjust to alterations.
Here's a fourth tip. Should have been number one: develop convictions. What trues do you stand on when you are faced with emptiness or a lot? What truths do you hold to that would keep you from complaining? Because I believe, and I believe it sincerely, that contentment is related to what you believe about God's sovereignty.
It's directly proportional to, do you believe God is in control or not? You want to hear a great statement on sovereignty? Comes from the Book of Job, the mouth of Job who lost his children, who lost his health, who lost everything. And listen to what he said, "naked I came into this world, naked I will leave. The Lord gave and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." How's that for a statement of sovereignty?
God's in charge. You enter into life empty handed, you're going to leave empty handed. You've heard the old joke, you've never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul because you can't take anything with you. So avoid comparisons, lower expectations, adjust to alterations, develop convictions. Those are all good tips that will help you and I learn to be content.
So be connected to God's people, be content with God's provision. A third and final principle to go into this next year with is be confident in God's power. Verse 13, before you even read it I'll just say you know it by heart. If I were to take a poll of the percentage of people in this room right now who could spout this off at a moment's notice it'd be pretty high.
I can do verse 13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Did you know this is Paul's philosophy of life? OK. Now back up. Paul is not writing this verse from the Ritz Carlton in Rome, Paul is writing this in jail. This man has been beaten up. This man has been talked against by unbelievers and by believers. He does not know if he'll live or die. Doesn't know if he'll face a court case tomorrow or be executed tomorrow or be set free.
And yet he says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." You want to know what the principle is? Spiritual success comes in cans. You've heard the other message too long. I can't do that. Your fears have told you you can't, others have told you you can't, past failures come back to haunt you and say you can't. I want you to get a new motto this year. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And before you say, well, that's Paul the Apostle. He can, but I can't. Here's what you need to know. Paul didn't just say I can do all things. He says, I can do all things through Christ. The same Christ Paul had is the same Christ you have. So if Paul the Apostle in prison can say I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, you can say exactly the same thing because it's through Christ.
Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet it is not me who lives, but Christ who lives in me." Same principle. The JB Phillips translation puts this verse this way, "I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives in me." The amplified Bible adds, "that is I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency." And what Paul says is exactly what Jesus said, but in reverse.
Remember what Jesus said in John 15? He said, "without me you can do nothing." That's what you can do without Christ: nothing. All the I cant's, I can't, I can't, that's a part from Christ: nothing. Paul takes that same truth, turns it around to the positive, he says, "but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
See. It all depends on where your resources lie. Do your resources lie in yourself, or do your resources lie in your Savior? Paul in prison, doesn't know if he's going to be supported or not, doesn't know if he's going to live or die, I can do all things. Corrie ten Boom, have you heard of her? Have you ever read her story? She survived Nazi concentration camps. She said this, "you'll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have."
It's all Paul had. And Paul said, that's enough. I'm content. I'm good to go. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So I'm hoping that you enter into this new year not being like those people who go, well, Jesus is like an important part of my life, but rather Jesus is my life. He is the core and substance of who I am. I am living through Christ, and Christ is living his life through me.
So as we stand on the verge of a new year, get connected, get contented, get confident. That's a great message to have at the end of a year into a new one. I heard about a little girl who was staying at a friend's house for dinner and a sleepover. And the mother in that home wanted to make sure that she could eat everything she was cooking. She was cooking up buttered broccoli. Steam buttered broccoli is one of the vegetables for the meal.
And so she said, sweetheart, do you like broccoli? The little girl, the visiting girl said, oh, ma'am, yes ma'am, I love broccoli. So she cooked it up. And as they were passing things around, the broccoli was passed to that little girl, that visiting friend, and she looked at it and passed it on, didn't take one little ear of it.
The mother said, sweetheart, I thought you told me you love broccoli. She said, oh, yes ma'am, I do love broccoli. I just don't love it enough to eat it. Yeah, theoretically we're good at theory, self included, but when it comes to the broccoli coming to my plate now, I do love broccoli, I'll say that. But whatever it might be that you and I don't like to eat, when it comes our way, I just want to say you might find broccoli on your plate this year.
You might find a spoonful of sickness, like Job. You may get a big dish of loneliness added to your plate. You might find that your plate is piled high with all sorts of unpleasant entrees. I don't want this. I don't love it enough to eat it, but it's what God sets in front of you. And because of that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, even eat that broccoli, or whatever unpalatable experience it is.
So I've always loved the saying that says your doctor may add years to your life, but Jesus can add life to your years. He can give you abundant life. Let's bow for prayer. Father, we want to just say thank you for your faithfulness to us over the past year. Thank you, Lord, for all the experiences we've had, all the ways we've learned and grown, the times of plenty, the times of poverty, the times we felt were abounding, the times we felt were being abased.
We didn't like it. But we like what you have done in spite of it, and what we are becoming because of it. And so we're learning to rejoice as this suffering apostle did. Lord, I pray that these three principles will be worked into our new year, that we'd be connected to God's people in a meaningful way, that we would be content with the provision you give us, that it doesn't come always out of need.
It's not related to how much or how little. And it's something we can learn. Lord, I pray that no matter what comes our way we would look your way, knowing that because we're in Jesus and He is the substance and some of our life that we can do this. In Jesus' name, Amen.
It's possible to have greener grass now, but you must be connected to God's people content with his provision and confident in His power. So how will you apply the truth that you learned in this message? We'd love to hear about it. Email us at email@example.com. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church.