The Secret Of Being Content
In Philippians 4:11-13, the apostle Paul wrote, “I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with 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. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul said that he learned contentment (satisfaction) with whatever situation he was in. But, many people have not learned this same secret of being content. So, let’s learn from Paul how to unlock the secret of being content.
1) Making do with little. There are some times when people have very little in terms of worldly possessions. In fact, there are some people who only have the bare necessities of this life. They struggle to find enough clothes and a warm place to sleep at night. They are uncertain as to when and where their next meal will be.
However, the apostle Paul knew how to be content with the bare necessities. In 2 Corinthians 11:27, Paul wrote about the hunger, thirst, lack of food, cold, and lack of clothing he experienced in his life of service to God. But, God always provided for Paul to sustain his earthly life through these times. And, Paul was simply thankful to God for all that He had done!
2) Making do with a lot. Perhaps we would not think this would be a challenging problem to have. However, it actually can be a bigger challenge than making do with little. For, those who have accumulated a lot in terms of worldly things are often not satisfied with what they have. Instead, they are still greedy for more. No amount of worldly things ever seems to make them satisfied and feel as if they have enough.
However, the apostle Paul knew how to be satisfied with the excesses God blessed him with. For, although I do not know of a time in Paul’s Christian life that he would have ever really been considered rich (from a worldly perspective), there were certainly times Paul had more than the bare necessities. And, Paul was thankful for these blessings!
3) Finding strength in Christ. Philippians 4:13 is a passage that is often quoted: “I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” How was Paul able to be satisfied in his life, whether he had just a little or whether he had a lot? He did not look to any earthly thing for meaning, purpose, or strength!
He did not need some physical thing to get him through the day. Although all physical beings need basic physical necessities, Paul knew that God was greater strength than any physical thing! So, as long as he put God first in his life, he knew that God would supply him with whatever he needed (as Jesus also promised in Matthew 6:25-34). And, more than that, Paul knew that there was a great reward waiting for those who seek God first in Heaven!
So, the secret of being content is to find your strength in Christ. Don’t rely on any earthly thing to be happy or to get you through your day. Recognize that God gives you everything you need to serve Him. Therefore, with Paul, let us say, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)!