THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTENTMENT (Lessons from Paul 3)
Imagine going from being well-off, highly respected, a community leader and a very popular leader to being flogged, beaten, stoned and imprisoned? How well would you accept that change in life? That’s the adjustment Paul had to make. Being content when one has everything is easy, but its much harder when one has nothing. Yet Paul had learned to be content in either situation. When he entered a town, he may have been invited to live in a rich person’s mansion and share all they had, or instead lived with a very poor man in a hut. Either way he was content because he saw it as coming from God. Knowing he didn’t deserve anything from God made it much easier accept whatever living conditions he was provided.
Notice Paus says he “learned” to be content (Philippians 4:11-13). Contentment must be learned. It doesn’t come naturally. Have you ever seen a baby that was content, patient and understanding when its needs weren’t immediately met? We are all born self-centered and demanding, thinking only about ourselves and our needs and wants. When does a baby outgrow that? The answer is ‘never.’ Discontent is something we must fight our whole lives. Contentment must be learned and it isn’t easy. It takes an attitude adjustment of trusting God’s provision and accepting whatever we have as coming from Him. Paul knew that God would provide all his needs (Philippians 4:19) but not all his wants. Paul knew God would give Paul what was best for him because he knew God gave him the very best (Jesus) when he deserved absolutely nothing but eternal judgment.
When we say we want to live for God and serve Him, trusting He knows what is best for us, we must accept everything as coming from Him. When we want Him to use us for His glory, we give up our right to make demands of Him and expect Him to serve us. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray “THY kingdom come; THY will be done” (Matthew 6:10). We don’t pray “MY kingdom come; MY will be done.” Yet that is often what we really mean inside. It’s easy to be discontent when life becomes difficult, especially if we feel God owes us an easy life. Contentment means accepting whatever happens in life as God’s perfect plan for us. It means trusting and serving Him when things are really bad just the same as when things are really good.
Enduring pain and trials is hard. Even more difficult is to face it with a good attitude. That’s what contentment is all about. It means we accept whatever circumstances we face in life as coming from God, no matter if we like them or not. That’s contentment.
Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how content would you say you are? What rating would God give you?
When do you have the most trouble being content? Why? What must you do to adjust your attitude?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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