“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.”
– Philippians 4:12
The story is told of a Quaker who offered a piece of property free of charge to anyone who considered himself content. When a man came to claim the parcel, the Quaker asked him, ‘If you’re content, why do you want my land?” Realizing that his actions betrayed his hidden discontent, the man turned and walked away.
To be “content” is to be satisfied with what you have and are—not needing more. Sadly, as we leave our homes and go into the world each day, we are surrounded by people drowning in discontent. Worse still, contentment is an elusive, rare jewel that many Christians never discover. Perhaps God had this sobering reality in mind when He inspired Paul to conclude his letter to the Philippians by highlighting four secrets to contentment. If you—like most Christians—want to be content with the life God has given you, take these four great secrets to heart.
The 1st Secret: Be confident that God always provides for His own. Consider Joseph. Although he was rejected by his brothers, sold as a slave, falsely accused of rape and thrown into a dungeon, God always provided for him. God saw to it that the circumstances and situations were put in place so that His purposes could be carried out in Joseph’s life. The same held true for Paul. Even when he was whipped, beaten, shipwrecked and hungry, God saw to it that Paul’s needs were met and Christ’s Kingdom was advanced. Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe says it so well: “Life is not a series of accidents; it is a series of appointments.” There is great peace and contentment that come when we take a deep breath and embrace this powerful secret: God always provides for His own.
The 2nd Secret: Understand that the amount of stuff we own has nothing to do with contentment. Paul writes in Philippians 4:12, “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.” Over the course of several years, Jesus Christ taught Paul that contentment doesn’t stem from being nicely dressed, well fed or pampered. If anything, the stuff that normally surrounds a materially-blessed person is a distraction. You see, the amount of stuff we own is irrelevant. To be content is to be thankful and satisfied with what God has given you—be it little or much. We’d be wise to meditate on the words of Chuck Swindoll: “The good life exists only when we stop wanting a better one. The itch for things is a virus draining the soul of contentment.”
The 3rd Secret: Believe that God’s strength empowers you to be content in any situation. Philippians 4:13 is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This is a marvelous verse, but we dare not forget the context of the verse—contentment in all circumstances. Whether Paul was well fed and comfortable or hungry and sitting in a jail cell, Jesus Christ empowered him to be content. Whether Paul was liked and appreciated or hated and beaten, Jesus Christ still empowered him to be content. Paul learned to be content in all circumstances through Christ who gave him strength. And Christ gave him that strength from the inside out. Instead of turning to stuff around him to find contentment, Paul turned to Christ who was living inside him. Therefore, if you are a Christian, consider this: No matter what situation you find yourself in—be it good, bad or ugly—your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So, God’s Spirit goes with you wherever you go. And He is ready and willing to empower you to be content in any and every situation you face.
The 4th Secret: Focus on meeting others’ needs, trusting that God will meet all your needs in Christ. In this world where most people are preoccupied with themselves, Paul was preoccupied with others. And that was one of the secrets to his contentment. He took his eyes off his own needs and focused on others’ needs. And having personally experienced the consistent provision of his great and awesome God, Paul confidently wrote in Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” When it comes to God’s need-meeting, here is an important insight to remember. If you are “in Christ,” God promises to meet your needs—not your greeds. As Warren Wiersbe says so eloquently, “When the child of God is in the will of God, serving for the glory of God, then he will have every need met.”
Christian, you may not live in a mansion, drive a 2017 BMW or take annual vacations to Hawaii, but consider how rich you are in Christ. You have been blessed with riches that money can’t buy: forgiveness, reconciliation with your Creator, deliverance, love, hope, peace, purpose and joy. And God has consistently met your basic needs for material possessions time and again. So, why on earth are you discontent? Stop looking for the “good life.” You already have it in Christ! You don’t need a brand new car, the latest gadget or a better-looking spouse to be content. The secret to contentment hasn’t been right under your nose all this time. In reality, it’s been even closer. The secret of contentment is living inside you, and His name is Jesus.
Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. Join us for Easter Sunday!
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