The Secret of Contentment

“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.” Philippians 4:11-12

Think about this scenario for a minute. It’s the night before you’re supposed to leave for camp, and you have been looking forward to it for so long because you have never been before. It was all you could think about. And your parents come into your room and say, “Honey, we have some bad news…your grandfather has gotten sick, and we have to go be with him…you’re not going to be able to go to camp this summer.”

Wow, that would be devastating, right? I mean you would be terribly sad. But what if, even though you were sad, you were still okay with it…you didn’t pitch a fit, and you weren’t mad at your mom and dad? That wouldn’t be a natural reaction, right? I mean, there would have to be something inside you that made you so happy, that even the disappointment of not going to camp would be okay. Well, this is the secret that I want to tell you about, and it’s one of the most wonderful secrets in the world: the secret of contentment.

There are many people who are constantly looking for contentment but never find it. Do you know why? Because they are looking for contentment in their circumstances, and let’s face it, as much as you try to control your circumstances you’ll never be able to completely. But true contentment is very different. The Apostle Paul says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” You see, contentment is the learned secret of being so satisfied on the inside, that you remain that way even when bad things happen on the outside.

The difficult thing for us to understand is that contentment is not found in finally getting the right wardrobe, or house, or getting into the right college. Those things only make us happy for a while. Contentment is found in knowing that we are truly forgiven and loved by God. And the more that deep knowledge sinks in, the more content we become!

There was famous pastor named Jonathan Edwards who wrote a ton of impressive books, but he wrote his first sermon when he was 17 and these were his three points on why a Christian should be content:

  1. Because our bad things will turn out for good (Romans 8:28)
  2. Because our good things cannot be taken from us (1 Peter 1:3ff)
  3. Because the best things are yet to come (Revelation 21:3-4)

These would be three good point to memorize and tell to yourself everyday (maybe even memorize the Scripture that goes along with them!). Don’t look for contentment today in places it can never be found; instead grasp onto the contentment that is already yours in Jesus.

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