Be Content

Are you content? Are you content with who you are, what you have, and what you’ve accomplished in your life? I have to confess, in my spare time of wandering around on social media, I have found my mind wandering over dreams of a renovated backyard worthy of hosting and entertaining a king. I will even admit that, as I drive around in my 2008 Toyota truck with 165,000 miles, I want a new truck; even though the one I have drives perfectly fine. 

For the most part, I am a content person and know all too well that, while the grass appears greener on the other side...just wait till the water bill arrives and you have to mow the grass!  I find it interesting that we are witnessing a generation growing up more dissatisfied and discontent than ever before; yet we have more stuff, resources, information, and technology than anyone before. It doesn’t help that the worldwide marketing machine spent $560 billion in 2019 to make you unhappy with who you are, how you look and what you have. In the end, we find ourselves buying things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t even know. 

Now, there is a danger of becoming too content, to the point of being lukewarm, but the apostle Paul tells the young pastor Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6 that godliness with contentment is great gain. Paul was able to tell Timothy this because he first learned to be content himself. In Philippians 4:11, Paul would say, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”.  And he did so in three ways:

First, Paul learned to be content when having little. In verse 12,  he tells us that he knows what it is like to be in need. Paul wrote this letter from jail, owning barely the shirt on his back and with plenty of reasons to complain. Perhaps we can look back and remember a time we had very little to show for our efforts and little to live upon, but yet found joy and small ways to give thanks.

Second, Paul was content because he learned how to handle the abundance in his life.  The rest of verse 12 says that Paul also knew what it is to have plenty. The danger of an abundance in our lives is to start thinking that we don’t need anything else. When we think we have it all, we can come to the point that we don’t need God. Isn't that just like us, when things are going really well, to place God on the back shelf? 

Finally, Paul was content because he found his strength and satisfaction IN Christ. The well-known says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (vs. 13). This verse is not promoting some positive mental attitude or possessing a “blank check” mentality with the bank of God; In actuality, Paul was saying, “I can be content in whatever the circumstance because of the strengthening work of Christ in my life.”  

Paul’s secret for contentment was not a principle, but a person. Paul was content with whatever he faced because he faced life knowing the Lord was with him. Don’t listen to the lies of the world that say, “If you only had this one thing, you will be happy.” Instead, join the Psalmist in Psalms 34:8 that says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” And Psalms 37:4 that says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”   

You might never get a new truck or that beautiful backyard, but your heart can be overflowing today with the joy in the Lord.   Be content! 


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