Friday, September 27, 2013

What Is The Secret to Contentment?


What Is The Secret to Contentment?
Philippians 4:11-12
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

The Bible identifies contentment as a virtue and speaks of contentment as a command. You are to be content with whatever you have. You are to be content with food and clothing. You are to be content with your wages. You are to be content because you understand that an infinitely and supernaturally resourceful God will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 ~ Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Contentment is a virtue. Contentment is a command.

Can you search your heart and answer these questions truthfully? 
Am I content with who I am?
Am I content with what I have and what I earn? 
Am I content with where I live and with whom I live with? 
All of these questions play a part in discovering the secret to contentment. The world tries to tell you, “You need a bigger house, more money, a nicer car, or a new mate that will satisfy and fulfill all your longings. You deserve better and need to go and get what you deserve!”

The Apostle Paul found the secret to contentment and speaks emphatically of this contentment in his letter to the Philippians. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” The word contentment comes from the Greek word used in 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says, My grace is sufficient (enough) for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Contentment is in knowing Christ and trusting His sufficiency in your life. (The state of being adequate to the end proposed. His sufficiency is such, that he bestows and possesses, his plenty being unexhausted)*Webster’s 1828 Dictionary used in defining the word,“sufficiency.”

We are always coping with the unknown and do not know the extent, length of time, or the frequency of the pain wherein we must trust God. Someone has expressed these truths as they relate to us: “God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about.” God’s providential care of us sustains and governs us bringing all events to their appointed end. Nothing is too large or too small to escape the sovereign hand of God. His ways are often questioned because we, as humans, don’t understand what God is doing. His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). His judgments are unsearchable, and His paths are beyond tracing out. Romans 11:33-34 ~ O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? The secret to contentment is found in trusting God and knowing that He is in control of all things. 

The Apostle Paul had a patient confidence in God's sovereign providence and that confidence could be seen throughout his entire life. He could do without while living in deep poverty and was still patient in waiting on the Lord. He understood that all things were in God’s hands and he would not manipulate people or turn any screws to get what he wanted. Paul was certain that in God’s timing He would bring about the circumstances needed to meet his every need. The reason Paul was content was because he knew that the times, the seasons, and the opportunities of life were controlled by a sovereign God. 

Thought:  Providence is a term to indicate that God provides and that He orchestrates everything to accomplish His purpose. Paul was content because of confidence in the providence of God and because he was satisfied with little. He was so at peace with the providence of a sovereign God that he was content even though his need was deep and great. Paul knew that the chief end of man was not to have his needs met, but the chief end of man was to worship and enjoy God.

Can we say with the Apostle Paul that we are content with whatever we have whether great or small. Or, are we living exclusively to see God meet our needs (wants) and change our circumstances? May we be like Paul and learn to trust God in His sovereign care of us, be satisfied with little, and rise above any circumstance. The end result, godliness with contentment is great gain (I Timothy 6:6). We are not sufficient in and of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5).

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