Learning to be Content By George Stroh October 3, 2011
"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13)
Do you want to know a secret? In Philippians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul reveals the secret of how to be content in any circumstance; "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
For much of my life, I thought contentment was just for losers, those with little or no ambition. In school, sports, work, and every other competitive situation, we are told that we should not be content with our current circumstance, always striving to reach a higher level. After all, it's those who are the most popular, have the most money, are the best looking, are the healthiest and who achieve the most, that are the happiest and most admired people in this world. But are my happiness and the world's admiration really the most important things in this life? And should I, or even can I, be content in my current circumstance?
I think that often our discontentment is based on two big lies. First, that I'm basically good, deserving and entitled to the best of everything. So why should I be content with anything less? Secondly, that I can make it happen. I'm in control of my own destiny and that my circumstances, good or bad, are a result of my own decisions and my own efforts.
Let's consider what the Bible says. Am I basically good and therefore deserving the best of everything? In Romans chapter 3, the Apostle Paul says that, from God's perspective, no one is good; "There is none who does good, There is not even one."(Romans 3:12a). The Bible, both Old and New Testament, consistently teaches that we are all born with a sin nature, that we are enemies of God, selfish sinners who don't deserve anything.
Furthermore, am I really in control of my circumstances? Can I always in my own strength make things happen and change my circumstances? If you are a Christian, you already know the answer. Only God is sovereign and in control. Read what God said to Job about who is in control and who is not in Job chapters 38 through 41; "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me if you have understanding,"(Job 38:4)"Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified? Or do you have an arm like God, And can you thunder with a voice like His? (Job 40:8,9)
Discontentment often results from a sinful attitude of pride, self-esteem, self-sufficiency and rejection of God's sovereignty and His provision. Our circumstances, good or bad, are in His loving, sovereign hands. Will you trust and obey Him even through the various trials and tribulations of this life? How can we be content to just trust Him, stay strong and not lose hope? Paul learned the secret of contentment in every circumstance and we can too; "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."Maranatha!