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Summary: Contentment, strength in Christ, victory

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THE SECRET OF THANKFULNESS

Phil 4:10-14 (p 832) Nov. 20, 2011

INTRODUCTION

Every one of us has heard the statement….”The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Wayne Smith says, “Yeah, but it’s still got to be mowed…and the great theologian Ron White says….”It’s because it grows over a septic tank.”

I laughed out loud when I heard that last one…because I really believe this is the number one way Satan leads people astray…both inside and outside the church.

“I’m gonna show you greener pastures.” I’m gonna show you a more exciting relationship. I’m gonna show you shinier toys and a way to be more popular… but he never reveals the septic tank these things are planted over!

He’s so subtle, isn’t he? In the midst of a dry or barren spot in your marriage the girl you always thought was pretty asked…”Are you O.K?” “And the coffee room becomes a pasture where the grass looks greener.” And you have to make a fence crossing decision.

You’ll be happier if you have a new or different car or house… (It has nothing to do with need, but a lot to do with image), so you get it….go deeply into debt…It makes you feel good sitting behind the wheel or decorating the new living room, but underneath the fading happiness is a septic tank.

It’s the satanic carrot in front of the horse…If I can just get this, have this, love him…I’ll be happy…

And for awhile….it seems true…but then something putrid starts to seep through…you try to ignore it…and at first you can…but then it’s impossible and bogus remorse crashes in…regret….and a longing for what you had comes back hard….

The problem for many of us is we never ever quite learn this truth…we do it over and over and over again and wonder why we keep feeling the way we do…why do I keep ending up back at the same place over and over again.

{In my counseling sessions I almost always tell a simple story…whether it’s to individuals or couples…Pretend that every morning in your life you get up and after you get ready…you walk down the same path that leads to the barn….every morning….it’s a path you perfected and worn smooth…you can walk it blindfolded…but one morning you wake up and decide you don’t want to go to the barn…you want to go to the pond…but when you start to make the journey that path isn’t easy, its hard and difficult…so you determine that you’ll take the same path you’ve always taken, but still get to the pond..l’m sorry…no matter how much you want to end up at the pond…if you take the same path you’ve taken every single morning of your life you’ll end up back at the barn…]

But I don’t want to take another drink!!!!I don’t want my marriage to be like this…I don’t want to continually try to buy my happiness or find it through another person…

Well…If that’s true…you’d better take another path…one that’s not so easy….one that’s new and unfamiliar…you’ll recognize it because its narrow and not many people are on it.

This path is the secret for Thankfulness It’s found in these words “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

What begins with the understanding?

I I NEED TO FOCUS ON OTHERS INSTEAD OF MYSELF

By the way…anyone know where Paul physically is as he writes to the Philippians? He’s in prison.

Even so he writes from behind bars he says… “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”.

The world has a huge “I” problem…it’s caused them to be spiritually blind…but it’s also invaded the church…it’s not an “E.Y.E.” eye problem…it’s a selfish me letter, capital “I” problem.

It’s ironic that the Apostle Paul, in prison says…what causes me to feel joyful is that you’re not thinking about yourselves anymore, but me…it’s not because I want you to think about me first, but I want you to think about others before yourselves…and evidently that had been a problem…it’s always a problem for people in the world…but that same “I” problem is huge for the church. Listen to what Paul tells them 2 chapters earlier.

Phil 2: 1-4 (p831)

We as the church are to be distantly different than the world…the glue that bonds us together? “Encouragement from being united with Christ. Fellowship with the Spirit…tenderness…compassion.

Not selfish ambition…not vain conceit…humbly think about others…what they need…not just what you need or want.

If you asked me to ascribe a motive to David Platt for writing Radical. “Here it is!”

It’s easy in America to be selfish…our culture shapes us to be materialistic and self satisfying…Don’t! If you and self satisfying…Don’t If you would be a follower of Christ…Its Radical to deny yourself and follow in His footsteps…

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