Friends, what’s your image of contentment? What comes to mind when you think about being content and does that image match up with your life? In other words, are you content with your life? With your marriage? Your friendships? Your job?
I wonder just how realistic a picture of contentment we have for our day-to-day lives. Contentment involves all sorts of feelings: satisfaction, happiness, gratification, pleasure, ease, being comfortable or pleased.
I think a really good description of contentment is this: A feeling of calm satisfaction. Something that I imagine eludes most of us, all too often.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:12, “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 everything through him who gives me strength.”
In looking closely at Paul’s words, we see that being content is not dependent on our present situation or circumstances. He was content with what God provided, irrespective of his circumstances. He had learned how to trust God in every particular situation and in all conditions as a whole.
Consider Paul’s present situation. He was in prison, chained at the wrist to a guard, 24/7. Roman prisons of the first century were dangerous places and if a prisoner did not have friends outside of the prison to help with food supplies and other needs, the prisoner would be hungry and cold. Furthermore, Paul faces what most likely will be an imminent execution by beheading. Friends, our being content is not going to be found in any certain situation or aspect of success.
Likewise, being content is not bound to material things. Paul said he had lived with plenty and was content. You know, it’s important for Paul to have said that, because we all know folks who “have it all” and they’re still not content. No one can find contentment in the things they have, because they really don’t satisfy. Think about it for a minute, how much money would you need to be satisfied? $1,000, $10,000, $1 million, $10 m Paul is saying that regardless of whether we have money or not, we can still have contentment, because being content is something that is not tied to what we possess. Contentment is not about what we accumulate.
Friends, The secret of being content is…the living relationship of a believer with Jesus Christ. Handing the control of our lives over to Jesus and being sure that he wants the best for us – that he will give us the strength to get through whatever we face – that’s the secret Paul has learned.
If we want to be content in this life, then we must recognize that contentment only comes from Jesus and is available regardless of our circumstances, financial situation or sense of success. Being content results from living our lives in Jesus Christ and trusting that God wants us to have abundant life – as Jesus says in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
If you will place your life into his hands, you need never worry about being content. God wants to be in a deep relationship with you through Jesus Christ, that you may have life and have it to the full. What greater contentment can there be?