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. (Phil. 4:10-13)
Are you content in any circumstances you face? Paul knew how to be content whether he had plenty or whether he was in need. The secret was drawing on Christ's power for strength. Do you have great needs, or are you discontented because you don't have what you want? Learn to rely on God's promises and Christ's power to help you be content. If you always want more, ask God to remove that desire and teach you contentment in every circumstance. God will supply all your needs, but in a way that He knows is best for you (Phil. 4:19).
Paul was content because he could see life from God's point of view. Paul focused on what he was supposed to do, not what he felt he should have. Paul had his priorities straight, and he was grateful for everything God had given him. Paul had detached himself from the nonessentials so that he could concentrate on the eternal. Often the desire for more or better possessions is really a longing to fill an empty place in a person's life.
Word focus - content: The word literally means “self-sufficient.” In Stoic philosophy this Greek word described a person who dispassionately accepted whatever circumstances brought. For the Greeks, this contentment came from personal sufficiency. But for Paul true sufficiency is found in the strength of Christ (Phil. 4:13).
In 1 Corinthians 9:11-18, Paul wrote that he didn't accept gifts from the Corinthian church because he didn't want to be accused of preaching only to get money. But Paul maintained that it was a church's responsibility to support God's ministers (1 Corinthians 9:14). He accepted the Philippians' gift because they gave it willingly and because he was in need. The secret Paul discovered was to live on the basis of his position in the Lord, not his feelings. As God’s child, Paul knew he was spiritually rich—“blessed . . . with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3) because he had a loving Father and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Contentment in our media-driven age is hard to find and harder to keep. There’s always something newer, bigger, or better to buy and someone else who has what you want. When you feel unsatisfied, try basing your response on your position as a co-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17) rather than your feelings.
To what are you drawn to when you feel empty inside? How can you find true contentment? The answer lies in your perspective, your priorities, and your source of power.
Father God, it is my prayer that when I become discontented in my circumstances that I begin to concentrate on You for fulfillment. Lord make it my only priority to live for You and rely solely on Your strength. Lord I know that I can do all things through You because You are my strength. Lord I pray for the wisdom to keep my priorities in life straight and always keep You first. I pray this all in Jesus' name. Amen.
References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.