“Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us.” – Warren Wiersbe.
According to Google, contentment is the state of being happy and satisfied. How would you define contentment? Most of us would come up with some variation of the idea that contentment is having everything you want. The Bible gives us a different definition: Contentment is not having all that you want, true contentment is wanting only what you have.
This is what Paul had learned. “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” (Philippians 4:11-12) Paul was able to be content even in his prison cell because he knew that God was in control. He had given his life over to God and he knew that God always had his back. Paul says that he discovered that he had nothing in himself. All his background, ambition and abilities, and all that he counted as gain was really useless as far as what he could do for the cause of Christ.
Over the centuries, we have viewed poverty as a severe trial while abundance as a great blessing: which explains why we are continually seeking after a state in which we have everything we want. We love the quintessential “rags to riches” stories like steel magnate Andrew Carnegie who was born into a family of destitute laborers, Carnegie received little schooling before his family emigrated to America in 1848. Arriving in Pennsylvania, the 13-year-old soon got a job in a textile mill, where he earned only $1.20 per week. Fast forward, the Carnegie Steel Company had blossomed into an industrial empire, and Carnegie became the richest man in the world after he sold out to J.P. Morgan for $480 million.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t strive for greatness and betterment, however, there is a difference between understanding that your current situation is not your permanent position and just being discontented. Contentment is a choice. God won’t give us more until we’re content with what you have. If we are not content with what we have, we need to rethink and rearrange our priorities. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 says, “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.”
Real contentment is found in God. When we believe that, it will dramatically transform the way that we live.
- Where’s the balance between being content and yet trying to better your situation or solve certain problems?
- How does your life change when you are truly content?
- What can you do this week to be more content?