Summary: Our world seems to contain far more people who are discontent than those who are content. For us, as Christians, what is the contentment we should be seeking?
Content or discontent
We continue in our series on discovering our destiny and we have been looking at what it means to have the right mind-set. Today we are considering how we can be content in all circumstances.
Let’s start with a question, I have not done that for a while. You don’t need to call out an answer, just in your head - What is one thing separating you from being content?
How would you fill in the blank: “I will be content when ____________?”
When I am healed. When I am promoted. When I am married. When I am rich. How would you fill in the blank?
As I said I do not want to know your answers, but can you just raise your hand if you have filled in the blank.
With your answer in mind, I have another question... If your “blank” never happens, if your dream never comes true, if the circumstance or situation never changes, would you be discontent?
In the world we live in there are many people who are discontent with some aspect of their lives and they constantly look for more. Our world seems to contain far more people who are discontent than those who are content.
People search for something better, a better job, better pay, a better car, a better priced electric or gas supplier, a better tasting food, a better golf swing, a better catch of fish. The list of what people are searching for is endless, and even if they find what they have been searching for most are still not content and they seek out the next thing; the next purchase, the next holiday, the next experience.
People are never satisfied, never content, and some are even envious or resentful of those who seem to have attained or accumulated more.
Contentment does not mean complacency. As Christians we can seek to better our circumstances as we have opportunity. The Bible encourages hard work and the rewards that come from it, as long as we are free from greed. If you’re in an unpleasant job, there is nothing wrong in seeking to change to another job, as long as you do so in submission to the will of God.
For us, as Christians, what is the contentment we should be seeking? I would suggest it is the inner sense of peace that comes from being right with God, from knowing God is in control of everything that happens. Our contentment should come from having our focus on God and serving Him, not on seeking after the material things of the world.
God has given you material things, a roof over your head, food on your table, clothes on your back.Are you thankful for what you have or are you discontent with what God has already given you? Do you thankfully enjoy what you already have? Do you seek to use what He has given you for His purpose? Are you generous in your giving? Are you content in Him?
If God took away something from you would your joy in Him remain steady? Could you say as Job did in Job 1:21, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”?
Real contentment comes from God, from a life centred on a living relationship with Jesus, our Lord and as Saviour.
Instead of being battered by difficult circumstances or situations, instead of being discontent, no matter what happens to us or what others do to us, we are to be content because we have the firm assurance that God is for us and He will never forsake us.
Is real contentment really possible? Is it possible to be content in all circumstances?
To answer that question I want us to consider together a thank-you note from a man sat in prison awaiting possible execution over false charges. The prisoner was the Apostle Paul and the Philippian church had sent him a financial gift. In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul expresses his thanks, and also speaks of how God is sufficient for every need.
Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul, 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. (Philippians 4:10-13)
Let’s consider what Paul describes as contentment and then think about how we can truly experience it in our own lives. The Apostle Paul had learned how to be content with whatever he had. That is a bold statement.