Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Paul surely endured some great hardships like hunger, thirst, cold, nakedness, beatings, imprisonment, dangers in rivers, stonings, beatings, being shipwrecked, going without food, storms at sea, flogging, dangers from robbers, sleeplessness, attacks from the Jews, laboring day and night for the Gospel, daily pressure from the churches, being hard-pressed on every side, feeling crushed, and being exposed to death time and time again (2 Cor. 4:8, 11:23-28). He knew how it felt to be crushed, going far beyond his ability to endure it, even to the point of his despairing of life (2 Cor. 1:8), yet Paul never complained. He spoke the truth about all these sufferings. But what did he do about it? He learned to be content (Phil. 4:11), even though more than once he was beaten and presumed dead or dying, yet not killed (2 Cor. 6:9). That’s right … he had to learn how to be content because contentment is not naturally acquired, a gift of God, or a fruit of the Spirit. It is something that Paul learned and we have to learn, and like anything else, learning never seems to come easily.
We don’t need to look far to find a biblical example of discontentment. The children of Israel grumbled time and time again, and for many it cost them their lives (Ex. 16:2; Num. 14:2). If someone’s not content, they are basically telling God that He hasn’t provided them with enough, but a quick glance around the world should put our life into perspective. Many have no running water or indoor toilets; no refrigerator or even food to put in one; no heating or air-conditioning; no food beyond what they have for the day, if that; no job; no car; no freedom to vote or worship; and perhaps even no shelter.
Content in Hardships
How Paul was able to learn how to be contented amidst such suffering is hard for me to even imagine (2 Cor. 1:8, 11:23-28). Paul said that there is great gain in having godliness and contentment (1 Tim. 6:6), and if he had food and clothing, he would be content with that (1 Tim. 6:8). The author of Hebrews tells us to avoid having a love of money and to just be content with what we have (Heb. 13:5); otherwise, discontentment can rear its ugly head. Discontentment tells God that you are not happy with your lot in life, so my question to you and to myself is this: Are you content with what you have? Am I? Sometimes it just takes a little perspective, and it takes learning to be content.
A Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father, You are so generous to me, I cannot even count all the blessings I have in my life because there are so many. I can never fully express my thanks to You, for You have been more generous to me and to so many others than we truly deserve. For this I thank You, and in the precious name of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, I pray.
Republished by Blog Post Promoter