The Lord Jesus said of this man: “…he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16)
Later the man to whom Christ referred recounted his life in the ministry: “I labored more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness – besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.” (II Corinthians 11:23-28)
He also said, “Therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:10) Finally, sitting alone in a cold dark prison cell, men came and led him out and executed him. It was the end of the many things he suffered for Christ’s sake.
He is the one who said: “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.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
The Apostle Paul learned to live in the reality of the sufficiency of Jesus Christ; just as Habakkuk learned to live in the reality of His sovereignty. And Asaph learned to live in the reality of His salvation. These are all of infinite value to us as we live in the reality of our sanctification through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Him alone is our contentment.