Learn the Secret of Being Content
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.Philippians 4:12
Paul had a very difficult life yet he states he is content in every situation.
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11: 23-28)
Paul’s continual contentment did not come from his situation in life as seen from the description above. Paul also spent many years in prison where he wrote many of his epistles, and in his late sixties while he was in prison, he was executed by order of Emperor Nero. What was the secret that Paul found that enabled him to be content in all circumstances?
For most people contentment is based on the situation around them; they are content when everything is going as desired. But what happens when things go wrong? Is it possible to be content in trying circumstances? To be content in all circumstances requires a source of contentment that is stronger than any circumstance of this world.
Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29) I think most of us do not realize the effect that God and his perfect love can have on our souls through the Holy Spirit. We have the power of the world through the flesh feeding our souls, and we have the power of God through the Spirit feeding our souls. Which do you think is more powerful, the world or God? Which do you want to be more powerful in your soul, the world or God?
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires (Romans 8:5). When our thoughts are directed heavenward, our souls become immersed in the Spirit where they are continuously fueled by God’s infinite love and power, even when the world around us is in chaos. The secret to contentment is to keep our thoughts on God.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3). We live to serve the Lord as his ambassador, reflecting Christ to everyone to the point that the Lord’s love fills our hearts and Christ becomes central in our lives. If your life is Christ, then your life and your thoughts will be focused on things above. When this is the case, the things of God become more interesting than things of the world.
Today keep your thoughts on things above and let your activities reflect Christ to others. The more love you reflect, the more love you receive from God, which draws him closer to you and fills you with his contentment.
Let’s Pray: Lord, draw me nearer to you as I serve you today. Fill my heart with ever increasing contentment like you did for the apostle Paul. Mold me to be more Christ-like so I can reflect your love, peace, and joy. Let the knowledge that you are always with me fill my heart with contentment. In Jesus name, Amen.