“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Are you content with your life right now? Whether you would answer yes or no to this question, the more important question is this: When was the last time you stopped and asked yourself “Why am I (or am I not) content?”
Being “content” in society today is based on having favorable circumstances. One day we are content because our 401(k) is rising and the next week we are no longer content because our 401(k) is going down. Or we are content because business is good, but are no longer content when business is bad. In our culture, we want to be happy, and through that find contentment. God has called us to view contentment differently.
In his letter to the church in Philippi, the Apostle Paul shares the secret to being content: “ 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. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
At the time of writing the letter, Paul was living in a Roman prison. Before that, he’d been beaten within an inch of his life, betrayed, and left for dead. Despite all this, Paul expressed his joy and appreciation for the church. Paul realized that contentment is an attitude we learn and not a thing we achieve. He had learned to be content regardless of his circumstances.
Contentment is not about our circumstances. Contentment is God doing something inside of us. The good news is that we all can learn how to become fully content with who we are, what we are, and what we’re doing. We can learn how to be content by thanking God for what we do have instead of focusing on what we don’t have.
When the author of Hebrews wanted to teach his readers about contentment, he reminded them what God had said. “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5).
Do not be like the world, unwilling to change because they are afraid that if their circumstances change, then so will their happiness. Be content with what you have and live the life that God has called you to live.
Questions to Consider:
- What feelings or experiences do you have related to managing money?
- What keeps you from developing a successful budget?
- Who is someone you could consider asking for help? (Friend, mentor, financial person)