An Equal Temper of Mind

Dear Lord; Happy Monday Father!

Over and over for the past several weeks Lord, You’ve repeatedly placed a very specific passage of Scripture on my heart.  And although those verses clearly speak to me in the midst of the situations I’ve been dealing with as of late, I’ve very much had the impression that Your intention is for me to gain something deeper from those words rather than simply finding comfort in them during my time of struggle.

And as I read these words from the Apostle Paul again today Father, I realized You were prompting me…

“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.” – Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

…Not prompting me to simply look at my current situation and draw strength from these verses, but instead to examine other seasons and events in my life, both during good times and periods of trial, and place them against that same litmus test of contentment that Paul describes in his letter.

And when I do so Lord, I find myself lacking Your peace more often than not.

I’ve gone through times of surplus Father, as well as times of want.  But when I look back with open eyes and an honest heart I realize that even when the problems I faced paled in comparison to the resources You Blessed me with, I still quite often felt unsettled…

Waiting for the axe to drop.

And in periods such as those that I’m going through now Lord, where Your presence seems almost hidden amongst the glaring trials all around me, that peace evades me yet again…

Allowing myself to be overwhelmed by my limitations, instead of drawing strength from Your lack of them.

…Certainly falling far short of achieving that encompassing contentment the Apostle spoke of.

So as I dug deeper into Paul’s words this morning Father, I came across a commentary by Matthew Henry that gave me pause to reflect…

“The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are more than those of affliction and want.”

In this, I think Mr. Henry aptly described Paul’s state…

Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always.”

An equal temper of mind always…

In his times of worldly excess Paul placed his focus on humility and gratefulness to You Lord, to keep his spirit balanced and his heart rooted in Your love and grace…

And in those periods of pain and struggle, he placed his full trust in that love and grace he’d reveled in; knowing that his true life and worth lay in Your sovereign hands, leaving no room in his heart for doubt and fear.

He achieved a balance Lord; by filling his heart with You, the waves of his life were quieted and made calm.

I want that Father;

To be filled with Your love in such overwhelming fashion that true peace becomes the only possible reality…

And Blessed in that state of divine contentment Lord, with earnest supplication I pray that my heart may remain anchored in that peace through all of life’s storms.

Please grant me that special grace Lord, that I may find an equal temper of mind… Always.

For it’s in Your Holy Name I pray,


~Phather Phil

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