As Americans, our culture seems to have a desire for more, more, more, especially when it comes to material things. Even if we don’t need it, if it is on sale, oftentimes, we feel drawn to purchase the item. We are becoming consumed with consumerism. Perhaps it is time to ask ourselves, if we are always seeking and reaching for more, are we truly satisfied in Christ alone? Are we looking to material things, people, or great circumstances to find peace or joy? Are we content with what God has already provided for us?
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he begins to share with the church at Philippi encouragement about learning how to rejoice no matter what is going on in life and gives the people direction in what they need to focus on.
In Philippians 4:8, he exhorts:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
If the Philippians would put this into practice, they would experience the peace of God.
As Paul nears the end of his letter to the church at Philippi, he reflects on God’s perfect provision:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”(Philippians 4:11-12, ESV)
He ends that thought with the famous verse, proclaiming that he can do all things through Christ that gives him strength. What is most encouraging about this verse is its context: contentment. The secret to finding contentment regardless of circumstance, having plenty or being hungry, that Paul is talking about is Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the One who gives us the strength and ability to remain content no matter what we are experiencing. True contentment is knowing that Jesus alone can satisfy our souls. True contentment is satisfaction of having our emotional well-being detached from our circumstances and bound to God and His wonderful grace. The world, the flesh, and the devil will perpetuate dis-satisfaction in your soul. Dis-satisfaction happens when you fixate on the source of the problem, and you begin believing your deserve more than what you have. When we search for fulfillment in things, people, or even our circumstances, we will always come up short. All of these things we try to fill our lives with aren’t necessarily bad things, but when they become the end goals, and the reason for our being, they become idols in our life. We end up being discontented because those things were never meant to fulfill us. Jesus is the only One who can bring true contentment into our life. We must learn how to disconnect our hearts from the allurements and attractions of this world and cling to Christ instead. We must remain humble and grateful no matter our circumstances. Let us ask the Lord to help us to seek contentment and hold onto it regardless of what we may be experiencing.
I am struggling with discontentment. Help me to guard my heart from discouragement and complaining. Teach me how to find ways to praise You when my expectations are not met or I become uncomfortable in my current circumstances. I know I need to trust in Your sovereignty and lean upon Your ways over my own. Your grace is sufficient for me, and I thank You for always guiding me into truth and convicting my heart when I fall into the sin grumbling and complaining, thinking that I know better than You. My lips long to praise Your great name. I know that at the point of great need, You pour out Your grace. Help me to remain humble and grateful. Thank You for Your love for me and for changing my heart to reflect Yours. I pray You would use all things to transform me and strengthen my faith in You. May I find contentment in You alone and cling to it each day of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.