Contentment

Professionals are called experts for a reason. They know what they’re talking about. They’ve experienced failure and success, making them knowledgeable in their field. However, information quickly changes, making it irrelevant. But the ancient information found in the Bible is still relevant to us today. For instance, one of my favorite adages from the Old Testament is Ahab’s reply to Ben-hadad in 879 B.C.

And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off (1 Kings 20:11).

Smiling.

Though Ahab wasn’t exactly a role model, I like to keep that scripture in mind when starting a new project because it keeps me on my toes!

Biblical truths never become obsolete. So when I feel the thorns of discontentment, I turn to the epistles. Paul is at the top of my list for expert advice on staying balanced amid troubles and trials.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).

Was Paul an expert, or was he a fly-by-night charlatan selling unconfirmed data? It’s easy to boast in things we know nothing about. Ben-hadad did. Of course, it’s a whole different matter when you’ve been initiated by experience. Let’s look at the word contented.

Contented: feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation

Merriam-Webster

In Second Corinthians, we read Paul was beaten with rods three times, stoned once, shipwrecked multiple times, and spent a day and night stranded in the sea. He suffered hunger, thirst, nudity, and cold. He was familiar with pain and fatigue. If anyone had the right to feel discontented with his situation, Paul did. But he didn’t complain. Instead, he told the Philippians that he’d learned contentment no matter his circumstances.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).

I’m sure Paul would rather have been on the mission field than stuck in a Roman prison. But his mind and heart were content because he knew God’s grace was sufficient for his needs. He trusted God’s strength to carry him through it all.

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. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:12-13).

Experience taught Paul contentment with God’s provision in the best of times and in the worst of times. He learned the dangers of judging his circumstances through his emotions and vision. Instead, he chose to think on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report …” 

I’ve never been beaten with Roman rods, stoned, shipwrecked, or stranded in the sea. Thank God! I am well acquainted with pain, weakness, and fatigue, however. I would prefer to be healthy, doing what I want to do. That sounds a little like self-will, but I mean it in the best way.

Unfortunately, I can’t fix me. I’m learning to focus more and more on Jesus and not on my issues. I’m also learning the difference between contentment with my circumstances and contentment due to God’s provision within my circumstances. We will never find contentment in difficult situations, but we can always find pleasure in God’s provision to see us through. Easy? You and I both know the answer to that question.

Contentment requires learning self-control by not allowing our thoughts to dwell on our circumstances but on things above. It also requires power. Therefore, we must draw our daily supply from God through Christ Jesus. Let us draw near to the Lord with thanksgiving, prayers, and supplications. In His strength, we will find contentment.

In His strength, I find contentment. #devotional #hope @GailJohnson87

Are you learning contentment? Want to learn more? Check out Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

21 thoughts on “Contentment

  1. Contentment is such a vital topic, Gail. And you’ve covered some great aspects about it. Paul is the perfect example to emulate because he learned contentment in his life experiences as God led him through each one. As you talked about him being in a prison cell instead of on the “mission field” I realized sometimes we need to change our perspective. When we align our expectations with God’s, it’s easier to find contentment.

    • Hi, Jeanne. I liked this: “When we align our expectations with God’s, it’s easier to find contentment.” Paul teaches us experience is the best teacher. Thanks for reading and sharing your insight!

  2. Best post ever! I feel God had you write this post for me. I struggle with contentment. I so desperately desire a simple life, but this earth desires a very complicated, emotionally rough, painful life. It wears me down. I have to get better at being content where God has me. I need to be better at being content in God. Thank you so much for these words today. They blessed me. ❤

    • Nicole, thank you so much for letting me know this. I had difficulties writing it due to brain fog. The words refused to come. This morning, I had issues with the posting! I began praying for the post to find the people who needed it. Honestly, I felt defeated. I’m so thankful for every comment today!!!
      Like you, life wears me down. Social media is hard for me to do. I struggle with what to say. But I’m finding the strength and contentment in Him. Praying for you, my friend.
      Hope this reply isn’t too raw for you. Just trying to come alongside you to say, I understand. 💗

  3. Thanks, Gail. A timely post for me as I’ve been struggling with a health problem. I’ve allowed my frustration to get the better of me, and this gave me the perspective I needed. God bless.

  4. Good morning Gail, thank you for this post. This spoke to me: “I am also learning the difference between contentment with my circumstances and contentment due to God’s provision within the circumstances”. I feel like I have just received a huge gift. May He bless your day with whatever you seek. In Christ, Julie

    • Good morning, Julie. Thank you for reading and your prayer. I’m glad the quote spoke to you. Learning contentment isn’t easy, but understanding contentment helps the process. May your day be blessed, sweet friend. 💗

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