30 Contentment – where?

Encouragement for difficult days (30):

CONTENTMENT – WHERE?

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Philippians 4:11

Do your circumstances bother you? Are you at that place in life where you wish nothing would change, and yet everything is changing? Are you having to adjust to new surroundings or new people? Then Paul has a good word for you: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

It is a great mistake to build your happiness on circumstances or things, because circumstances change and things have a way of wearing out or losing their value. True internal peace cannot be based on changing external things. We need something deeper and more satisfying..

Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change or control the world within us. It has often been said that what life does to us depends on what life finds in us. This explains Paul’s great testimony in today’s text.

The word content does not mean “complacent”. Paul was anything but complacent! He felt the burden of lost souls and carried the gospel to city after city regardless of peril or persecution. Nor is contentment a dreamy attitude or vague feelings that lift you out of the world and make you immune to trouble or trial. No, what Paul is actually saying is more like: “I don’t depend on things on the outside, because I carry my own sufficiency on the inside.” This inner sufficiency, of course, is the power of Jesus Christ in Paul’s life, for he goes on to say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Contentment , then, is actually containment – having the spiritual resources within to  face life courageously and handle it successfully. Contentment is divine adequacy. Contentment is having that spiritual artesian well within so that you don’t have to run to the broken cisterns of the world to get what you need. The power of Crist in the inner man is all we need for the demands of life. Resources on the outside, such as friends and councelors and encouragements, are only helpful as they strengthen our resources on the inside.

If you had all the props and crutches taken away from your life, would you be able to stand? Do you have that divine sufficiency and adequacy within? You can have it if you’re willing to let God have His way. Paul needed to learn this. It doesn’t come automatically with your salvation. The word “learn” means to learn by experience. This is where we normally fall down. We refuse to change into what God wants us to be, and we lose out on the contentment in our lives. We need to go through troubles and trials, difficulties and sacrifices, and we must face changes in our lives.

There is no growth without challenge, and thee is no challenge without change. If our lives are going to be isolated and insulated, we will never face any challenges, but this means we will never have the opportunities to mature. For mature people, life is a battleground, but they are willing to face the battles and, by faith, win the victories. For immature people, life is a playground; and they avoid battles, but this means they never have the joy of winning victories and growing in the Lord.

Read 2 Corinthians 11 and 12 plus Acts 27. Paul suffered much in his service for the Lord. After all this suffering, Paul prayed to the Lord about an affliction that was causing him great trouble. The Lord’s answer was simply “My grace is sufficient for thee!” Paul was still content and counted it all joy when he was suffering for Christ. At the end of the day, we need to lift our eyes to the reward in heaven like Paul did. God will supply our needs like He has promised. We will have all that we need. The problem is that we always want more. Only when we are content can we truly be happy  in our lives here on this planet.

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