10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last you have renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me, but lacked the opportunity [to show it]. 11 I don't say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret [of being content]-whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~ (Philippians 4:10-13, HCS)
Our discontentedness can be extremely hazardous. It will cause us to make decisions to quickly or take foolish actions that soon bring us anguish. Discontent causes us to want to be someone or something other than what God has brought us too. When we are not content with where we are there becomes a desire to be somewhere we don’t need to be or a reason to have something that is not ours, which so derails our life. Our discontentment will cause us to become preoccupied with things and places that have no bearing on our life with Christ. However, when we are patiently waiting on all the comfort and joy that Christ Jesus has for our lives we will know the contentment Paul is talking about here to the Philippians. When we are content in Christ and where we are in our Christian walks our motives have a way becoming more aligned with Christ purpose for our lives. Contentment in Christ moves us close to His heart.
Contentment is the understanding to undergo adversity and to manage success while living for and looking to Christ. If we go through life never pleased or thankful, if we are always looking for that little extra, just if I could get a little more money or that nicer car, or a bigger house we are not only not living in Christ but we are setting ourselves up to always feel let down. We start to believe that the world is against us, or that God does not listen to us and does not answer our prayers. When our desires of more; more things, better opportunities, relationships that will move us forward, all these desires and more only assist in cluttering and muddling our lives. When more becomes our primary aspirations and devotedness becomes about obtaining more that is when our lives become out of control giving Satan a foothold into our minds and lives.
What if more stuff is not our issue? What if it is the way we look? Our weight, skin tone, hair, (or in my case the lack of), height etc., etc., etc. These things will also destroy our ability to be content. We need to see God working in and through us or we will become disconnected and go AWOL (military meaning Away With Out Leave). When we live in contentment, our ability to trust in Jesus grows exponentially.
“I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry-” (1 Timothy 1:12, HCS).
Although Paul was still growing in Christ and knew he had much more to learn, he understood the fruitfulness of being content. By God’s grace Paul had developed to where he was able to use the hardships during his ministry to gain a better understanding of God’s heart. During Paul’s time in jail he began the very first jail ministry and wrote the most profound words of truth. Paul’s ability to live in contentment is the patchwork that God used to pen the most grace-filled letters in scripture that God continues to use some 2000 years later to inspire, teach and direct His children in the ways of righteousness. From the time Paul meet Jesus in a blinding light on the road to Damascus until his death Paul bowed to the desires of the Lord and did whatever Christ ask of him. The secret to Paul’s contentment was Jesus working in and through his life.
If we are to learn anything from Paul let it be this. Surrender everything to Jesus Christ, your positions, your relationships, your job, your marriage, your children, how others see you, everything! Leave nothing to chance, in Jesus Christ all things prosper. Ask Jesus to grow us in wisdom, humility, to help us grown and learn and most importantly ask our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to grow us and develop in us the ability to be content in Him. Ask Jesus to grant us the ability to surrender to Him and give us the faith to live as He lives, to give us strength and fortify our desire to be content in Him.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6, HCS)