Learning the Secret of Contentment

by Ken Green

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11, ESV).

Do you find contentment to be elusive? Be encouraged. Even the apostle Paul realized being content was something he had to learn. If Paul had to pursue contentment, let’s acknowledge our need to also work on it.

In our greedy culture, genuine contentment is rare. But while we may not have everything we want, nothing can guard our joy like knowing we have everything we need. To learn biblical contentment that endures “in whatever situation,” learn these three choices:

  1. Seek it. Seek contentment as a lifestyle. Choose it. Acknowledge that you would not be happier if you had more. You might be more miserable. God’s word contains clear warnings for us. Think about the camel and the needle (Mark 10:25). Read I Timothy 6:9. More does not equal happier!
  2. Say it. “I have enough.” Let those words ring through your mind and home. Push yourself back from the table early and say, “I’ve had enough.” When you have enough: food, money, things, resist the cravings for more. Follow the words “I have enough” with the prayer: “Lord, how can I use this for You?”
  3. Settle it. Psalms 62:10 advises us, “If riches increase, set not your heart on them.” We should choose a lifestyle; don’t let your income dictate your lifestyle. Identify a comfortable level of living that meets your needs, and do not compromise it if more income arrives. If we don’t choose a lifestyle, this world will choose one for us and it will be one of living beyond our means. Be counter-cultural! Be radical! Choose a lifestyle that’s biblically based; eternally focused; others-oriented.

Let enough be enough. Learn from the examples of those around you (both the contented and the covetous). We will save ourselves a world of hurt and know the joy of a truly contented attitude.

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