Philippians 4:12-13, "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."
Contentment... what does this look like in a person's life?
In Philippians 4, Paul writes about how he has learned the secret of how to live in all circumstances. As I read this, I love how it says that he "learned" how to do this. It wasn't his first response. It was something that he learned over time.
What was the secret? How did he manage to be content when he was full... AND when he was empty? This secret is something I want to be in on.
The answer is that he found he could do everything through Christ, Who gave him strength.
How many of you have ever found it difficult to be content? Contentment is something I've struggled with all my life. It's a constant battle for me to be content. Even when I have everything, I find that I still struggle in this area. It's as if there is this constant want for more that I have to fight like the plague.
I sometimes wonder if this struggle is one that everyone faces or if it is more of a cultural thing from living in America. I'd say that every person's flesh has a problem to some degree with being content, though.
What I see as I look around is our tendency to be happy with the newest thing for the first five minutes we have it, but then we think it is nothing when something new comes out.
For instance, the cell phone is always changing. At one point, the iPhone was the new big thing, but now that's like a dinosaur in our mind and we're on to wanting this year's model.
Maybe you could care less about cell phones. Whatever it is, though, there is a battle going on when it comes to our contentment.
Growing up, my mom told me the importance of being happy now because if I live in the "I'll be happy when..." mindset, I'll never really be happy. I never was concerned with having the newest technology, but what I always have to put my mind in check on is the, "I'll be happy when I am not single anymore." mentality. I know that this isn't really true. If I'm not happy while I'm single, I will not be happy when I'm married either.
Our issue is not with needing something more. Our issue is a bad character trait that needs to be broken.
How can we change our discontented mindsets to contented ones, though?
Thankfully we have the answer. That answer is, "I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength!" (Philippians 4:13 paraphrased).
If we don't ask God for help, we can never break the bad character trait of discontentment. But... if we will take this before God, He will give us the strength to be a people of contentment.
True happiness doesn't come from getting what we want... it comes when we don't get what we want and we are just as happy as we would've been if we got it. (I think I heard this from Joyce Meyer).
Satan tries to convince us that what God has given us isn't enough. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy (see John 10:10). What I've just been made aware of is that he does this partially by trying to make us discontent.
If we are unhappy with what God has given us, we are not free to enjoy all of His blessings.
My question is this: Can you be happy if God doesn't give you what you want? Can you be happy with what you have right now?
Dear Heavenly Father,
You've revealed to me that I have an area in my life that needs Your touch because it needs to be changed. My problem with discontentment has gone on long enough, and I don't want to be someone who is never content with what You've already given me. I pray You'll change my heart. Get rid of that bad character trait and replace it with a character of contentment. Whether You give me what I pray for or not, let my contentment never waver. In Jesus' Name.