by Dr. Shelbi Cullen
It doesn’t take much to see we live in a discontent society. Turn on any television and within seconds you will observe it. But discontentment is not just isolated to the world. Often Christians battle discontentment in their own hearts.
Discontentment seeks to convince that you deserve better. So how might you battle discontent with God? Phil. 4:10-13 gives us great armaments from someone who had every reason to be discontent, but found his ultimate satisfaction in Christ alone.
True Contentment Can be Learned (vv. 10-11)
Years passed between gifts for Paul from the Philippian church. Despite the time lapse, Paul learned to be content with whatever God had supplied him. Remarkably, Paul was under house arrest in Rome, isolated from the churches where he often ministered tirelessly, and awaiting trial.
From the world’s perspective, Paul had little or nothing of what we would consider a benefit. Yet, he testifies to being a contented man even though he was in an agonizing and needy circumstance.
Paul’s contentment was not the stoic kind. He had come to grips with his difficult circumstances and was doing well because he understood his identity. He had been “crucified with Christ.” He no longer lived for self, but for Christ (Gal. 1:10). Thus, he learned to be dependent upon Christ’s grace to strengthen him moment by moment (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
True Contentment is Not Controlled by Your Circumstances (v. 12)
Circumstances do not have to dictate your spiritual happiness. Paul says “in whatever circumstance.” His circumstances were imprisonment for the sake of the gospel, isolation from his ministry to the churches he loved, and financial hardship. Despite difficult circumstances, even chained to a Roman soldier, Paul was content. Why?
Because Paul learned to discard earthly security in exchange for Christ. He did not allow people or events to have the power to determine his joy. Rather, he rejoiced in the Lord and was satisfied with whatever God brought into His life.
True Contentment is Found in Christ Alone (v. 13)
Paul depended upon the indwelling Christ to strengthen him. Despite life challenges, he accomplished all that God wanted him to through the strength He provided (2 Cor. 12:9-10). Paul did not need anything this world had to offer in order to be content, because Christ was in him and was his all-sufficiency.
Battle Discontent Through Worship of Christ
Like Paul believers can battle discontent with God by renewing their focus on their most important priority – Christ! They can learn to find ultimate soul satisfaction in the Giver of the gifts! They can learn to rejoice in the Lord and be satisfied with whatever He brings into their life. Learning to center their worship on Christ through prayer and the reading of His Word helps things of this world to grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Be encouraged!