I am involved in my youth group at church and I have the privilege of preaching the word to the teenagers there. As I was studying this specific passage it really started to dawn on me how ungrateful I really am. Paul writing to the Philippians from a prison cell was being not only joyous but thankful! How can someone be thankful after being beaten and thrown in jail for no good reason? The answer is seen in verses 13.
13 " I can do all things through him who strengthens me"
Christ has given him every reason to be thankful no matter his situation. Paul knows exactly what he deserves. He rightly deserves to be in Hell for the sins he's committed. Yet Christ's sacrifice has paid the debt he should have paid himself. How can someone not be grateful for what Christ has done? How can all of life not be seen as grace and mercy even in the worst of situations? Imagine if no matter the circumstance we remembered what we really deserve for our sins!
I am not happy because I lost my wallet. I deserve eternal hell.
I am not happy because I've failed an exam. I deserve eternal hell.
I am not happy with how much I make. I deserve eternal hell.
I am not happy with my spouse. I deserve eternal hell.
The comparison is a very sobering thought. Everyday events seem minuscule in comparison to what we deserve. If I am honest with myself for just a minute, I know why I get unhappy and discontent with my situation. It is because in some shape or form these words come to mind and I make the terrible mistake of believing them, "I don't deserve this. I deserve better!" No I do not deserve better! What I deserve for my sins is God's full wrath. Am I thankful for what He has done for me?
Father help me not to take for granted the things You give me in this temporary life or to get used to the blessings you do grant me day to day. Remind me daily of where I was headed before you entered my life and saved me.
Instead of complaining at his lot, a contented man is thankful that his condition and circumstances are no worse than they are. Instead of greedily desiring something more than the supply of his present need, he rejoices that God still cares for him. Such an one is "content" with such as he has (Heb. 13:5).
—Arthur W. Pink