Part 4: The Secret of Contentment
Paul, the apostle, wrote, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians. 4:11). How could he make such a bold statement? Because he knew that contentment lies not in what he has, but in whose he is. Our tendency is to look for things that will make us content – those things that are better or those events that are next. Too many people believe that happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction is found in power, possessions, promotions, and pleasure. But these are roads that lead to dead ends. A lack of contentment causes us to look horizontally – at what others have so we are never satisfied. Contentment means we look vertically – at God. There is only one road to contentment and it goes through Jesus.
Something To Talk About:
We should anchor our contentment to the promises of God. Think about some of the promises that steady our hearts and give us perspective for the future:
– There is a place in Heaven He is preparing for us: this world is not all there is.
– He will never leave us or forsake us: we never have to face a battle alone.
– He will provide for our needs: we are never without the resources we need.
– He will guide us into the truth: When we need guidance we know that God will lead the way.
– He will do exceedingly abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine: So we can trust Him in all our circumstances.
1. Why is it so difficult to be genuinely content? What factors in our world make it difficult? What factors in our hearts make it difficult?
2. How much time do we spend worrying about things that will never occur?
3. Where’s the balance between being content and yet trying to better your situation or solve certain problems?
4. Pray and ask God to help each one to embrace His plan for a life of contentment.
Take One Thing, Three Actually, Home With You:
1. Let go of the past: “…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13). We cannot hope to ever gain contentment while holding on to past failures and mistakes. We need to let go of such statements that begin with “I should have,” “If only,” and “If they hadn’t.” True forgiveness requires that we see the wrongs clearly, articulate them, release them to God, and then walk away from them. This process may take some time and some assistance, but it is necessary for a contented heart.
2. Live each day with contentment: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). We need to surrender our timetable and future to him. Discontentment is due to a wrong focus. If we focus on things and on others we will be discontent. We need to focus on God and we will find contentment.
3. Find sufficiency in Jesus Christ
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians. 4:13). This means trusting God in every circumstance. When He is present in our lives, we can do all things. We can experience contentment because we sheltered in Him. Our human determination and/or stubbornness may help us to endure adversity and pain. Our emotional toughness will help us get through job loss and financial hardships. But only Christ can generate a contented spirit in the midst of all that is happening around us.