by Peter G. Feenstra
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. Philippians 4:11–12
Are you content and happy about how things are going in your life? We know how little children are quickly dissatisfied with the toys they have, finding another child’s toys much more attractive. Teenagers may feel uptight because life does not seem to be taking them down the road they would prefer. Discontent is not merely a problem with the young, disappearing with age. It may appear without notice throughout our entire life. An old poem summarizes it well, “As a rule, man’s a fool. When it’s hot, he wants it cool. And when it’s cool, he wants it hot. Always wanting what is not.”
Contentment doesn’t come to us overnight but is attained by actively pursuing it. Paul states that he has learned to be content. He wasn’t born with an innate ability to be content, and neither are we. The ability to accept and trust has to be developed through a growing reliance on Christ.
Being content isn’t a luxury; it is vital to our spiritual health. The apostle Paul learned contentment through trials and testing. In chapter 4:11–12 he writes, “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.”
We learn contentment by accepting our God-given place in the communion of the church. Once we realize all things are given to us by God’s sovereign design we learn to be content. Whether we are in a place of leadership or working behind the scenes, we are what we are by God’s grace. Whether we are rich or poor we learn to be content when we recognize everything is given to us by the undeserved favour of God.
No matter what you face today, remember that you receive the strength to be content through Christ. The more you trust in the Lord and the less you trust in your own insight, the greater your contentment will be! As you reflect on the matter of contentment, think about the great wisdom in the words of Paul to Timothy, “Now 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 clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1 Tim 6:6–8)For further information about this resource, click here.