“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” – Philippians 4:11.
If someone asked you a simple question, “are you content,” what would your answer be? Are you content with your circumstances? Last week we talked about Jeremiah 29:11:”For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Psalm 84:10 says, “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else…” Paul “prayed that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:16). Jesus said that “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35). and Jeremiah 31:14 says, “… my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.” If all these Scriptures are true – and if you believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord – you should be content. So are we truly content?
When should we be satisfied? When should we be content? “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have,” Paul tells us in Philippians 4:10-13. The Apostle recently has received financial support from his church. He writes: “How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 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.”
Paul is not self-sufficient. He is God-sufficient.Whether he has little or much, in every circumstance, Paul is content. Why? Because if he has God, he has all that he needs. Note that Paul emphasizes his contentment both when he has little and when he has much. For both lead to temptations: It is not easy to be content when you have little. And it is easy to find contentment in money or material possessions. We need not to be self-sufficient, but God-sufficient. If I have God, and if He will never abandon me, I have all that I need to be content.
2 Corinthians 9:8 brings out the same idea: “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
Contentment is the byproduct of finding your identity. security and trust you have in God. For there is no lasting joy, no genuine security, no true identity apart from Him.
- How do you define contentment? In your own experiences, what have you discovered to be the key to contentment?
- Why are we not content with just the basic necessities? How does our culture fuel discontentment?
- When we struggle to be content, what are we saying about our view of God and our relationship with Him?
- What steps can we take to be more content ?