Summary: The most happy people are those content in the fact that God is in control.
The Most Happy People
Jeff Kolk - Cross Road Baptist Church - Lufkin, TX
Who are the most happy people? The rich? - No, both rich and poor suffer from discontentment. I would say the most happy people are the content people. Let’s see what Paul says to the church at Philippi.
Read Text (Phil 4:10-14 NASB)
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.
11. Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
12 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.
13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
Paul learned to be content. He learned a lesson we need to learn about God. We need to not only trust Him to supply our needs (not wants) (see Phil 3:19 - "my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus")
We need to learn to be satisfied with whatever He provides.
ILLUST - Here’s a little illustration to show how easily we are robbed of our contentment.
It’s a hot, muggy, Sunday morning in July. You are at church and fighting to keep your mind off the temperature and on the sermon. The sermon gives you a new appreciation for God’s redemptive plan. We are content to endure the heat to hear one more time about Jesus who endued the punishment on the cross for our sins. Then a familiar sound comes through the windows. It’s the music jingle from the ice cream truck next thing we know our thoughts are on a cherry popsicle. In seconds our minds have gone from eternal salvation to ice cream and from contentment to dissatisfaction. (source: Our Daily Bread - Radio Bible Class)
We must recognize that there are many "ice cream trucks" in the world robbing us of contentment and happiness.
Contentment does not mean we must never try to improve our situation in life. We are to be content with what we have but that does not stop us from diligently using the skills and abilities we have been given by the Lord. However, if our desire to get ahead causes us to neglect our families and our fellowship and walk with the Lord then there is a serious problem.
God’s standard. Mark 12:30-31 Love him first! - As long as we are more concerned about glorifying God and meeting his approval than anything else we can and should use our abilities to improve our circumstances.
Transition: Contentment is learned. There are 3 areas I would like us to explore today in learning to be content.
1. Contentment by Knowing Jesus
2. Contentment from Material Things
3. Contentment through Life’s Adversities
1. Contentment by Knowing Jesus
A. Solving the Sin problem:
- All people are looking for answers in life. People are looking for happiness and peace. Our founding fathers knew this (from the Declaration of Independence, 1776)
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness"
Being at peace with God and His world is the foundation to lasting contentment and happiness. (Illust.) An early church father (Origen) said, "there is a God shaped vacuum in every man and only God can fill it"
Question - How are you filling that "God shaped vacuum?" Have you received Jesus as your savior?
+ Romans 6:23 (Read and comment on quotes)
+ The "wages" of sin
+ is "death"
+ "free gift" of God
+ "eternal life"
+ "through Christ Jesus" (the only way John 14:6)
If you have not yet received Christ as your personal Savior you can today. We must admit our sin, turn from it and receive Christ by placing our faith and trust in Him (believing in Him).
+ Until we receive Him we will be searching for everything on the world to fill that void that only Jesus can fill and we will never have lasting contentment.
B. Walking the walk (lifestyle)
- We are not to be content in our walk (or relationship) with Jesus. We should always be looking to grow and develop it.
- We should be "press on" as Paul says in Phil 3:13-14
"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."