Summary: This sermon give four insights on learning contentment. 1. Learn Not to Compare Yourself To OTHERS 2. Learn To Adapt To CHANGE 3. Learn To Draw On Christ’s POWER 4. Learn To Trust GOD
The Joy of Learning Contentment
In 1965 the rock band, The Rolling Stones, released a song – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. It was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It became the Rolling Stones first number one hit in the United Sates.
In this world there are many people that seem to get no satisfaction out of life. They seem to be unhappy, unfulfilled and unsatisfied. They walk around in a season of discontent. They lack fulfillment in their lives. What is the secret of a satisfying life? Paul writes in Philippians chapter four:
“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)
Go ahead and circle the word – “content”. Paul is saying that in whatever situation he has found himself he has learned how to be content. But let me ask the question: “What is contentment?” I don’t think it is apathy. I don’t think it is being melancholy. I don’t think it is a spirit of laziness or adapting an attitude of complacency. It seems to be connected to taking a realistic view of your situation and adjusting to it. Contentment is independent from circumstances. Its power comes from relying on God – no matter what situation you find yourself in.
How can I find joy in the jungle of life? How can I find contentment in the mist of catastrophe?
Paul says contentment is learned. It’s not something that is instantaneous. The situations of life are the school house of learning contentment. The problem is – many people turn bitter instead of better when life deals them a bad hand. Some people never learn how to be content and they live life unfulfilled, unsatisfied and unhappy. How do you learn contentment? Paul gives four insights into learning how to be content.
1. Learn Not to Compare Yourself To OTHERS
When you compare yourself to others two things can happen:
A. You become prideful – because you see yourself better than others.
B. You become jealous – because you don’t have what others have.
Comparing yourself to others always leads to discontent. Paul tells us in verse eleven:
“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)
Paul has learned contentment – by not comparing himself with others. If you want to learn to be content you have to avoid comparisons. There will always be people that make more money than you. There will always be people who are smarter than you. There will always be people who are better looking than you. So what? These comparisons have no bearing at all on your own personal happiness.
Folks you will never find happiness by looking around at what others have or don’t have. The only way you will find happiness is by looking up to God.
Here are three misconceptions about happiness:
A. I must have what others have to be happy.
This is a myth. It is not fads or fashion that provides happiness.
B. I must be liked by everyone in order to be happy.
All of us want to be liked by others – but the truth is – not everyone is going to like you. Even Jesus couldn’t please everybody. Only a fool would try to do what Jesus couldn’t do.
You cannot go through life without some disapproval. If you do anything – somebody is not going to like it. You don’t need everybody’s approval to be happy.
C. Having more will make me happy.
Howard Hughes was asked, "How much money does it take to make a man happy?" He said, "Just a little more." Folks here is what I have learned – as your income goes up, so does your expenses. Paul tells us in First Timothy:
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV)
The fact of the matter is that all possessions are temporary. Even the bodies that we have will one day be placed into the ground. They’re just loaned to us. We need to take care of them and enjoy them and treat them with respect – but they are not going to last. Who you are as a person is more important than what you have. Life is about character building.
Let’s move to point two.
2. Learn To Adapt To CHANGE
Everything in life changes. If there is nothing else that is happening to you right now – you are at least getting older. Someone has said, “The only consistency in life – is that there is always change.” Life is full of ups and downs – emotionally, physically, mentally and financially. Everything in life is changing. If we could live long enough we could watch the mountains erode into the sea. Change is certain.