Summary: CONTENTMENT COMES WHEN YOU…1. Rely upon Christ for the power to prevail over circumstances. 2. Trust in God’s power to provide for all your needs.

Becoming a Joy-FULL Person

7. The Secret of Contentment

Philippians 4:10-23

June 12/13, 2004


I have a confession to make. I hate the ice cream man. He takes a nice content moment and turns it into cravings for something my children don’t need and can’t afford – and turns contentment into discontentment.

But there’s an awful lot of ice cream trucks out there, aren’t there? They don’t all go around with children’s music piping out of their speakers – but they can make us feel discontent no matter what we have.

For me they are things like “For sale” signs in front of homes we can’t quite afford.

Want ads for cars that are nicer and newer than what I drive.

Going to people’s homes where they have much nicer furniture or really cool home stereo systems.

And this week, I even started thinking about my toilet. Yes. My toilet. CNN reported this week that…

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A Japanese toilet maker is introducing a high-tech $5,000 toilet to the U.S. market, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Toto has introduced its deluxe Neorest toilet. Features include seats that can be set to rise automatically via sensors on the side, so users don’t have to touch the toilet. The toilet also has a wireless remote to raise or lower the seat. It has deodorizer, a warm-air dryer and water temperature, pressure and massaging options.

The ice cream truck of discontent might not be a high-tech toilet, but I guarantee that there’s something that brings on the feelings of discontent for you.

And just like the worry and anxiety we talked about last week can steal your joy and keep you from becoming a joy-FULL person, discontent can do just the same thing. If we want to be joy-FULL, somehow we’ll have to find a way to find contentment in our present situation.

Want some good news?

No matter what is happening in your life, you can know contentment. God’s word tells us how to do it. And now let’s turn our attention there. In Philippians 4:10-23 we discover the secret to contentment.


1. Rely upon Christ for the power to prevail over circumstances. (Phil. 4:10-13)

Phil. 4:10-13

10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Paul expresses his thanks here to the Philippian believers for the gift they sent with Epaphroditus to Paul to help meet his needs. As he’ll say a little later in this passage of scripture, he is, for the moment, amply supplied – but that is not where his contentment comes from. In fact he says just the opposite – there is a secret to being content when you’re experiencing plenty just as surely as there is a secret to being content when you’re in want.

Actor Alan Alda has been quoted as saying, "It isn’t necessary to be rich and famous to be happy. It’s only necessary to be rich."

Contrary to Alan Alda - The secret to contentment is NOT getting everything you want! Fact is, the amount of money you have doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with the level of contentment people experience. Consider this…

ILLUS: About 10 years ago, there was a story in U.S. News and World Report. Some of the information in this story is probably just as relevant today, ten years later, as it was then.

The story was about the so-called “American Dream.” I guess that would include owning your own home, and having all your needs met for sure, but also having enough to do all the things you really wanted to do, and have all the things you really wanted to have.

The story said that for Americans with household incomes of under $25,000, polls showed these people believed it would take $54,000 to fulfill the American dream in their lives. The same survey also showed that for those who make $100,000, they’d like to make about $192,000 for their version of the American dream.

In other words, the American Dream usually lies nearly twice the distance away, at least financially.

So if the secret to being content is not in amassing personal wealth or getting everything you want, how can we know contentment?

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