Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Secret of Contentment

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.


RCUBEs said...

How great to be reminded that we are "co-heirs" with Christ!

All these things of this world will not last. I'm glad that the Lord found me and He made it known that He is our All in All. So, glory be to God! God bless.

MTJ said...

Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for the reminder to be content with our life. Chasing after things is just (as you say), "a longing to fill an empty place in a person's life."

I agree with you in prayer that in those instances when I am discontented about my circumstances, that I will focus on the Lord for fulfillment.

Blessings and peace.


Philip Robinson said...

Another thought-provoking post Lloyd. How many times I have thought 'if only I had (such and such), I would be content!'
How far short I fall from the standards set in Galatians 5 as the fruit of the indwelling Spirit:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. Now, if only I had these, I really would be content!

dfish said...

Very timely Post. We need to learn what Paul told Timothy in I Timothy 6:6-8. "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

Mari said...

Wonderful post. I am certain of that, I currently going through a situation that is very tough, but I rely on the Lord and as you said in your prayer, I begin to concentrate on him for fulfillment. he gives me the energy, the peace and the joy to keep living each day.

Have a blessed week.

Maria I. Morgan said...

Good reminder that contentment is directly related to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. When discontentment begins to worm its way into our lives, giving thanks is a sure way to squash it! Being thankful for what we've got, and for who God is, redirects our attention to Him! God bless!

Word in the Hand said...

To see God in everything allows us to be content with whatever we have; whatever life gives us; even in the struggles and the pain. Discontentment takes away the vision of God in our lives.
Good to be reminded.
every blessing

Nicole said...

Thank you so much for the prayer! I really needed this today!

Dee said...

Like Paul..I try. But being able to lean on God while I learn is soooo helpful.

GOD thinker said...

Thanks again for an excellent post. It is so easy to fall into the trap of wanting more and more in our culture. God is the only thing that will provide true contentment.

Grammy Blick said...

It's nice to be back reading His word shared with others! Keep up the good news mission.

lioneagle said...

Greetings -

I just placed the scripture Philippians 4:13 on someone else's blog (sharonsharinggod.blogspot.com) this a.m. and immediately afterward came to visit your blog and notice that you have the same scripture posted on your most recent blog post.

Truly, GOD keeps proving how awesome He is.

Thank you for your wise message.

Chambray Blue said...

One day my sister and I were going back and forth with: If you had one wish what would it be. Her's was to have a lot of money, bless her heart. Mine was to be content with whatever I had and wherever I was in my life... To be content. And how wonderful that we have a God who can not only perform tangible miracles, but He can change a heart. It pretty much gives us all hope, doesn't it? Thank you for being God's vessel and obedient in posting this wonderful message.

Miawa said...

A wonderful post, it is so true that we in today's age are constantly thrown new, better, bigger things to want and our children are fed on that daily even without the media, just from what their friends have. Being focused and grounded in the Word of God is the answer and sharing with our friends as on this and other posts. Thank You for sharing your faith with us.

Lloyd said...

RCUBEs – I think that sometimes we all need a little reminder that we are co-heirs with Jesus and all of God’s promises. All earthly things shall pass but eternal life is forever throughout eternity. Blessings.

MTJ- We all want material things for ourselves and our family, which in it self is not bad, unless we begin to place the material things ahead of God. Remember, money is not the root of all evil…it is the LOVE of money. God continues to bless us and we continue to praise Him for all of His blessings. Your friend in Christ. Lloyd

Philip – We have all had the same desires to have more possessions which we felt, at the time, would make us more content. But, we soon find out how wrong we are… All we needed was the Lord. As believers, we all possess the “Fruits of the Spirit”… we just need to nurture the “fruits” that we are weak in. And, you are so right. If I could nurture all of the “fruits” of the Spirit like Jesus was able to do I would be one happy and content Christian. Blessings too you.

dfish – You are right that if we all could learn what Paul told Timothy about godliness with contentment is great gain, we would not complain about anything because our reliance on the Lord would be the only thing we would ever need. Blessings.

Mari – Thank you for this uplifting and heartfelt testimony on your reliance on the Lord. My prayers go out too you my friend.

Maria, Word in the Hand, Nicole, Grammy Blick, and Dee – Thank you all for your visit and comments. Blessings too each of you.

GOD thinker – I appreciate your encouraging comments. I can tell you from experience how easy it is to fall into the trap that the devil sets up for believers to want more and more and to spend more and more on our selfish desires instead of focusing our money and resources to promote the Kingdom of God. Only falling down on our knees and reaching out to our Lord will pull us out of the devils trap. Bless you my sister in Christ.

Lioneagle – Isn’t it amazing how God can work in our lives if we just listen to what He is telling us to do? Thank you for your comments. Bless you.

Chambray Blue – Thank you for sharing your testimony with us regarding your desire to have God’s contentment instead of all the money in the world. Blessings too you.

Miawa – You are right… We are bombarded by the mass-media daily to constantly buy newer, better, and bigger things for ourselves and for our children. When we finally realize that we need to start worshiping the Creator of all things instead of the creations that are given to us, then we begin to feel the contentment that God offers us through His Son. Blessings.

Mohamed Mughal said...

Happy is the man who is happy with his lot in life.