Everyone longs to be content. None of us enjoy that feeling in the pit of our stomach that are never quite finished. There’s that nagging thought that we never have quite enough. We’re never fully satisfied with our lives. Sound familiar?
In order to find satisfaction we’ll usually make a beeline for pleasure, hoping that the dopamine high will bring lasting contentment. Here’s a hint: it won’t.
What’s the secret to being content?
How do we become content? Is there a magic pill to swallow? A fancy life hack to implement? In order to solve this question we need to search the wisest book ever written, the bible.
The bible explains that contentment is found in Jesus alone. It’s only by resting in Jesus that we will experience true satisfaction. Ok, I understand that, but how do we do this? What exactly does resting in Jesus mean? Paul gives us his view in Philippians 4:10-13
10 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. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 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. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
I sometimes hear this verse misconstrued as a sort of power-giving amulet, or a bumper-sticker mantra. You might even hear it shouted at a Christian sporting event as the athlete prepares a feat of daring, “I can do all things through him who strengthens meeeeeeeee!” And then he dives off the edge of a cliff or whatever.
Nope, sorry, I don’t think that’s quite what Paul meant.
Consider the Context
A clearer picture is seen when we consider the context. In this book Paul is closing out his letter to the church in Philippi.
After exhorting them to “rejoice in the Lord”, find peace in God through prayer, and to keep their minds focused on praiseworthy things, Paul then addresses their concern with his apparent poverty (v. 10). After speaking of his contentedness he makes the statement “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
The Greek wording indicates that this empowering strength comes completely from God. It is a relationship where one partner is fixed, and the other is being used as an instrument, while resting. Awesome, no?
And who, do you think, is in that stationary position? Certainly not us! We’re not the ones who are immovable, that’s God’s place.
God is Immovable
Hebrews 13:5&6 helps us to better understand this immovable aspect of God. We can learn to be content in any situation when we grasp this concept.
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
These words are spoken as Paul is closing his letter to persecuted Jews, reminding them of important aspects of their faith.
This knowledge brings satisfaction and eliminates that burning feeling in your stomach that you’re always missing out on something more. God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”.
You’ll remember that you’re not missing out on “something more” because you know the immovable and never-forsaking “something more!” Really, how much more could there be?!
How to be Content
- Consider your relationship with the source of contentment. Are you immovable, or is he? How does that affect your relationship?
- Learn more about your immovable creator by reading his letters to you… the bible. Sixty-six books designed to help you understand God more. Today is a great day to start reading through the bible!
- Finally, rest & pray. Sweet, sweet rest! This unworldly rest is what our hearts long for. Take time throughout the day to pause and acknowledge the immovable creator through prayer. You’ll discover the peace of God which will guard your mind. A peaceful heart & mind is an instant antidote to discontent, and more powerful than retail therapy any day!
How does an understanding of God’s steadfastness affect your day? Have you ever considered this aspect of his character?
- Check out this brief word on stuff & Contentment from one of my favorite bloggers, Tim Challies
- For further help, check out this sermon series by John MacCarthur: The Secret to Contentment