Paul said he learned the secret of being content – it didn’t come naturally to him. Living a content life is not something that will come naturally to us either. It’s a learned attitude and position of our hearts. Much like exercising or training for a race, we have to build the muscles over time to sustain the weight of the task we’ve set out to accomplish. Living a content life comes by making daily choices to choose Christ over the world.
Hebrews 13:5-6 – “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” NKJV
In my years of ministry and life, I have learned that without contentment, a person lives in an unending miserable state. Covetousness is a vicious companion, as are Envy and Greed. No wonder the apostle Paul told us that he had learned to be “content in the state he found himself.” He knew how to abound, and he knew how to be abased. His confidence was not in Things but in GOD, which is where ours should be. If we focus on What We Do Not Have rather than who We Have, we will live lives filled with “What If Moments” and be continually dissatisfied with virtually every aspect of our lives.
In the above passage, I see that courage is one of the by-products of contentment. There is courage for life, facing obstacles, ministry, and attempting the difficult and even impossible. It provides the foundation by which we can rise to the heights that God has designed and desired for our lives.
We move from the condition of victim to the place of victor because of the statement in verse six: “THE LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” You will come to the condition and position that your life is “hidden with Christ in God,” and nothing or no one can touch your eternal spirit. Oh, they may inflict wounds on your body, and if you allow them on your emotions but your eternal spirit cannot be touched, it is in God’s Hands, safe and secure.
I no longer worry about those things that I can do nothing about. I work to change my circumstances when they are contrary to what I believe God would have them, but I do not fret over the present or live in the past. I keep my eyes firmly fixed on the Ultimate Goal and Objective. I press toward the mark of the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. I realize that whatever state I am in is temporary and that My God will supply all my needs according to His Riches in Glory. He will grant me the wisdom to know what to do, the ability to accomplish the task, and the provisions to sustain me in times of plenty or lean.
So, as you go through your day, go with God allowing the Holy Spirit to bring a spirit and sense of contentment, not complacency, into your hearts. As you do, you will quickly rise above the circumstances and stand victorious in mind, body, and spirit.
Contentment in the new testament
Contentment is a recurring theme in the NT. The book of Hebrews urges readers, “Be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb 13:5). Paul insists, “Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Tim 6:6–8). The apostle contrasts this godly contentment with the greedy craving for riches, which leads to ruin (6:9–10).
Paul’s most extended discussion of contentment comes in the final chapter of his letter to the Philippians:
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content [ἐγὼ γὰρ ἔμαθον ἐν οἷς εἰμι αὐτάρκης εἶναι]. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:10–13)
“Whatever situation” is no pious abstraction. Remember that Paul penned these reflections from a dark, dingy prison (Phil 1:7, 12–14). Prisoners in the ancient world often lacked basic necessities like bedding, clothing, and medical care.11 They were also often shunned by friends due to the social stigma of incarceration.12 Not only was Paul incarcerated multiple times, but he was also beaten with rods and flogged, stoned and left for dead, and shipwrecked three times (2 Cor 11:23–27). He was opposed and maligned in one city after another, taking heat from Jews and Gentiles alike. He endured sleepless nights and often lacked shelter and supper. Paul doesn’t need to remind his readers that he and Silas were falsely accused, attacked by a mob, beaten with rods, and locked up in the inner prison without due process when they first came to Philippi (Acts 16:19–24). Despite this laundry list of toils and trials, Paul does not descend into bitterness, complaining, or self-pity. Even though he is separated from his friends, criticized by his foes, and stuck in a lousy cell, Paul remembers that the Lord will never disappoint him and will surely deliver him (1:19–20; 3:20). Thus, he stresses that he is content even in “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities” (2 Cor 12:10). The imprisoned apostle rejoices in Christ, resolves to work for other Christians’ progress and joy in the faith, and expresses his contentment in Christ, come what may (Phil 1:18, 25; 4:11–12).
1. You must discipline your heart
Someone who has learned to be content has a habit and discipline of bringing his heart into a state of stable and peaceful contentment, even though the world around him is constantly changing. He practices contentment during lesser trials so that he is strong and able to practice contentment during greater trials.
2.contentment believe the good about God.
When people are least content, they’re often tempted to shake their fists in God’s face. They blame God and accuse Him for their troubles. They believe the worst of Him for brining trails into their lives. But God only has thoughts of love in everything He does to those who belong to Him. It isn’t from ill-will that God brings suffering into the lives of His beloved children.
3. Contentment doesn’t plummet into dark discouragement.
The believer who is content in God remembers God’s power and love, that He’s able to rescue sinners, to heal the sick, to make the blind see. God calls us to trust that He will deliver us from our sufferings in His time and in His way, according to His good pleasure.
Take to heart what the writer of Hebrews said: “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).
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