Cultivating Contentment

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Philippians 4: 11 - I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

The Bible Dictionary defines contentment as “a state of mind in which one's desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be.” Contentment is a state of mind! Since we can control our thoughts, then we can control our contentment. Contentment is a choice.

In this verse Paul expressed gratitude for the gift the church at Philippi sent him and thanked them for their concern. While he appreciated the show of love, Paul said that he was not in need for he had learned to be content with much or little. He had known both wealth and poverty and had learned the secret to contentment was in relying totally on Christ. Paul knew that contentment is essential to both enduring trials and experiencing joy. Paul chose to be content. He cultivated contentment.

What can we learn about cultivating contentment?
1. Notice the scripture tells us Paul had to “learn” contentment. Learning contentment is not quick or easy. I imagine Paul had experience some discontent before he learned to be content.

2. Paul learned to be content in spite of his circumstances. Paul had been poor and wealthy. He had been free and imprisoned. He learned that joy comes from our perspective not our circumstances. Paul learned to be content in both his personal discomfort and his personal comfort.

3. Paul knew that contentment came from Jesus Christ as he said in Philippians 4:7 & 9. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. . 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Our faith journey is often difficult and filled with suffering and challenges. True contentment comes from a faith that is rooted in Jesus Christ. True contentment means rely on Christ and trust him even when our circumstances are not what we want…

  • when others are cruel
  • when it’s hard to make ends meet
  • when we are falsely accused
  • when the medical test results are not encouraging
  • when someone gets a promotion instead of us
  • when our plans are suddenly changed
  • when loss comes into our life
  • when a loved one tells you they are walking away
  • when a financial investment fails

Like Paul, we too must learn to be content when our circumstances are good and we begin to want more and more…

  • when we have a comfortable home
  • when we have a safe and efficient vehicle
  • when we have clean clothes
  • when we have a clean bill of health
  • when our job is safe and secure
  • when our family is in tact
  • when our investments are sound
By claiming God’s promises in all of our circumstances, we can find contentment.
He will never leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5
He will supply all of our needs. Philippians 4:19
His grace is sufficient for us. 2 Corinthians 12:9
His children will not be overtaken by temptation. I Corinthians 10:13
All things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully. Romans 8:28
He will instruct us and teach us. Psalm 32:8
He has promised his people eternal life. John 10: 27-28

“Remember that a man's contentment is in his mind, not in the extent of his possessions” (19th Century preacher Charles Spurgeon).

Cultivating contentment is a choice!


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