Are you looking for a shortcut to contentment. There are none. Rather contentment comes by learning it–which comes through the power of Christ, not from counselors, therapists, self-help formulas, improved cash flow, marriage, better health, or more friends. Contentment comes from abiding in Christ. Abiding in Christ comes from knowing Christ more. Knowing Christ more comes from communing with Him more. That is the source and the secret of true contentment.
Archive for the ‘contentment’ Category
Are you content?
Where do you struggle with discontentment?
Why are you discontent?
Are you content with the handicaps, the disabilities or other physical characteristics the Lord has given you?
Are you content with your financial position in life right now? If God takes certain things away from you or if He doesn’t give you what you want soon, will you still worship Him?
Are you content with the ministries and the ministry giftedness that God has endowed you with?
Are you content with the vocation He is asking you to fulfill?
Are you content with whatever God does in the future? Or are you stressed out about what may happen in our country right now? The economy? Your retirement plans? What will happen when your kids grow up.
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But what does it mean to be content? Let me begin by telling you what it doesn’t mean. Contentment doesn’t mean that if you don’t have a job, you don’t seek a job. To be content does not meant that if you have a job that you don’t seek a more challenging or that you don’t seek to better yourself in your job.
To be content does not mean that you are not seeking to better your condition in this world, in your family, at your school or in your church. Being content does not mean that if you have a physical problem you don’t go to the doctor. It doesn’t mean that if you are lacking some character trait that you simply say, “I am content!”
Don’t confuse contentment with laziness or complacency, with a lack of fulfilling your responsibilities or a lack of ambition.
So what is contentment. Contentment means, “I seek to fulfill all my responsibilities biblically and I then leave the results to God!” Contentment is being able to say, “I have enough! God is enough! I am totally satisfied!”
Contentment is going to work and working the hardest that you possibly can and trusting God to provide your needs as you are faithful. Contentment is studying as hard as you can for that test at school and doing the best possible job you can and being satisfied with the grade. Contentment is developing the best Christian character you can and looking for the best spouse you possibly can and being satisfied if God leads you into marriage or doesn’t. Contentment is taking care of your physical body and exercising and eating properly and getting enough rest and being satisfied with whatever diseases or disabilities God gives you! Contentment is doing your very best in practice on your musical instrument or on the basketball court and then being satisfied with whatever chair you get in the band or whether you start on the team.
So in a nutshell, Contentment is doing what God wants you to do and then saying, “I am totally satisfied with whatever God gives me! God is enough! I don’t need anything more! I don’t want anything more!” Again as Jeremiah Burroughs has said, “Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition”
Contentment is a beautiful, comforting, wonderful, encouraging, happy, rich, and yet uncommon word. Rarely do you hear someone say, “I am totally content. I don’t need anything more! I don’t want anything more. I am totally happy with what God has given to me!”
Contentment is saying, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. Contentment is saying, “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” Contentment says, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.” Contentment announces, “He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”.(Psalm 23:1; 36:7,8; 63:3-5; 107:9).
The Greek word here for contentment is “autarkeia” which literally means “self-sufficient.” It was employed by the Stoics who sought to teach that man should live totally dependent on himself—no one else. But obviously in the context here, Paul is not saying that he is totally “self-sufficient” but rather he is totally “God-sufficient.” His joy in life was not dependent on external criteria. He teaches us that our joy should not rise or ebb based on our circumstances, our position in life, our surroundings, our status, our job, our health, our family situation or anything else or anyone else. Our joy is Christ—who He is and what He has done. Nothing else should sway our joy.
“Contentment is a highly prized, but elusive virtue. Though it comes only from being rightly related to God and trusting His sovereign, loving, purposeful providence, people nevertheless seek it where it cannot be found—in money, possessions, power, prestige, relationships, jobs, or freedom from difficulties. But by that definition, contentment is unattainable, for it is impossible in this fallen world to be completely free from problems. In sharp contrast to the world’s understanding of contentment is this simple definition of spiritual contentment penned by the Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs: “Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition” (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, p. 19).”
–John MacArthur, Commentary on Philippians
“A Christian finds satisfaction in every circumstance by getting strength from another, by going out of himself to Jesus Christ, by his faith acting upon Christ, and bringing the strength of Jesus Christ into his own soul, he is thereby enabled to bear whatever God lays on him, by the strength that he finds from Jesus Christ. . . . There is strength in Christ not only to sanctify and save us, but strength to support us under all our burdens and afflictions, and Christ expects that when we are under any burden, we should act our faith upon him to draw virtue and strength from him.”
Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, p. 63
Consider the following verses that deal with contentment or (anxiety which is a symptom of discontentment).
“Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”” (Luke 3:14, ESV).
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34, ESV).
“For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:5, ESV).
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 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 Timothy 6:6-8, ESV).
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, ESV).
“Keep your life free from 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, ESV).
When you consider the truths of these verses we learn that to be discontent is. . .
- idolatry, for covetousness is the opposite of contentment
- a violation of the first commandment: to love God with all your heart
- to suffer great loss
- to act as the world acts
- to display a lack of trust in God
Having said these things, can we say that a failure to be content is a small thing? I don’t think so. Rather discontentment is an offense to a trustworthy, wise, and caring God.