Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Contentment Is a State of Mind
I believe that contentment is almost 100% in the mind. Just look at Paul’s life to see why I say that. He learned the secret to being content in hunger and in need (Phil. 4:12). Notice that it was something he had to learn and that it didn’t come naturally, so it won’t likely come naturally to us either. Twice in Philippians chapter four, Paul says that he had to learn to be contented. To live in contentment or discontentment is a choice and is not really dependent upon circumstances; we just tend to think it is. If it were, Paul could have never endured all that he went through and still lived a contented life.
Contentment Is a Choice
Just as we can choose eternal life or death (John 3:16-18), so too can we choose to be contented or not. God gave Israel the freedom to choose either life or death (Deut. 11:26). He never forced them to choose, and neither will He force us to choose to either to be in a state of contentment or live in a state of discontentment. I know a few people who choose to live a life of discontentment, and they are not a lot of fun to be around. The strange thing is that two people in particular I know who are doing well financially are not very contented at all, proving the fact that money doesn’t buy happiness or contentment. Like contentment, happiness is a choice of the will and isn’t dependent upon our circumstances in life. If contentment or happiness depended on the possessions of life, then most in the world would be in a perpetual state of discontentment because they don’t have as much as those of us who live in the West.
Godliness Is Contentment
It is better to have a dry crust of bread in a peaceful house than to have a feast in one where there’s strife (Prov. 17:1). If you live in a home that is full of hate, a side of beef couldn’t even make it better (Prov. 15:17). That might explain why Paul told Timothy that godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim. 6:6). Money and possessions will all be gone someday, but those who do the will of the Father will have everlasting life. If we have food and clothing, shouldn’t that be enough (1 Tim. 6:8)? Pursing riches only leads to heartache and destruction (1 Tim. 6:9-10), but if we are satisfied with seeking first the kingdom–and that means seeking first the King of the kingdom–God will meet every one of our needs, anyway (Matt. 6:33). Isn’t that good enough? Why accept living in discontentment when you can learn to be content in whatever situation you find yourself in?
A Closing Prayer
God, You always provide for my every need, so forgive me for the times when I show discontentment with my life. It shows You just how ungrateful I am. Help me to live a life of contentment because You are always better to me than I truly deserve, and in Jesus’ name I pray.
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