Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content (Philippians 4:11, esv).
In Philippians 4:11 Paul wrote, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Paul knew how to be content in highs and in lows, in abundance and in need, in plenty and in hunger. Contentment is something Paul learned—and it’s something you can learn too. You can practice it. In fact, God wants us to improve at this over the course of our lives, day by day.
Do you see the blessings of contentment in your life? Contentment brings blessings, such as joy in the present and satisfaction in the simple things of life. Contentment brings a settled sense of sufficiency and a peaceful pace that proves “more” is not the focus of your thinking. You have life—what a privilege to be alive in this world!
Contentment also builds your capacity to appreciate ordinary pleasures. If you’re content, simple things make you happy. Like a nice walk. Go for a walk today with a member of your family, and hold his or her hand. Talk about what’s important. Enjoy a simple pleasure—have a loving conversation, eat a good meal without racing to your next task, savor a nice piece of music. If you can sit quietly, enjoy something simple, and not think ahead to what you will do next, that’s contentment. Cultivate your capacity to delight in ordinary pleasures.
Contentment also promotes true joy in eternal things. Luke 15:10 describes how the angels throw a party when one sinner is saved. How phenomenal is that? They know how to have a good time—and they know what’s worth celebrating. As your contentment grows, so does your joy in the eternal. For example, if you anticipate picking up your Bible and can’t wait to hear God speak, that’s a blessing of contentment.
Contentment is rooted in eternity. If all the grains of sand on all the beaches in all the world represent eternity, then one grain of sand represents life on this earth. We’re over here grinding this one grain of sand, our time on earth, to get everything out of it—and failing miserably! Too often we ignore all that God has in store for us. To increase your contentment, focus on eternity.
Contentment is a choice. When you choose it repeatedly, you create a lifestyle. Don’t expect to replace covetousness with contentment in a moment. You won’t wake up one morning and say, “Wow, I think I got contentment last night. It just happened. This is so cool.” No, it begins with a choice. Then another choice. And another. It happens moment by moment, as you put off covetousness and put on contentment.
When a desire for something comes into your mind, you can consider it and conclude, “Not necessary. I have enough.” That’s contentment.
Lord, I do have enough. I have You. I have Your promises. I have Your faithfulness. I have Your strength and wisdom to face whatever happens in my life. I know I can trust You with my burdens. Forgive me for associating my happiness with anything external. Please help me to grow in the grace of contentment, so that I too can learn to be content in any situation. All this I pray in the name of Jesus, who is my ultimate example of true contentment. Amen.