7th February 2011

Clothed With Contentment

18th in a Series

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:”
Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)

What was it about the Apostle Paul that enabled him to say this?

It might be helpful to ask what it is that makes us discontented.  This usually arises from a comparison with something or someone else when we find we are not as well off as the other.

Much marketing is aimed at making us feel exactly this way and causing us to desire what we have not or to be what we are not.  This dissatisfaction is usually aroused because we compare upwards.  If we compare downwards, that is, with things or persons that are worse off than we are, then we realise how blessed we are and that encourages contentment.  The difference is one of ingratitude or gratitude.

A former teacher of mine used to say that he was angry that he couldn’t afford shoes when he was growing up until he saw a boy who had no feet.

It is true that contentment is a perspective; it is a view that we take of our circumstances.  The glass can be half full or half empty.  We can take a positive, optimistic view or a negative, pessimistic view.

Christians, of all people, have every reason to be content because everything is for us whether good, bad or indifferent.  1 Corinthians 3:21-23 says, “Therefore let no one boast in men.  For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come – all are yours.  And you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.”

We need to keep before our minds that we are Christ’s, that everything that happens to us is used by Jesus to bring about good for us.  We read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Whatever we may or may not have, we always have Jesus with us doing his great work in us and for us.  As it says in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

We live in a very wealthy part of the world and chances are we are among the richest people on earth, but we have the untold riches of a life that is in the hands of our great Saviour, Jesus Christ.  No wonder the apostle Paul, who understood this truth deeply, was able to find contentment in whatever circumstance he found himself.

Father in heaven, how blessed I am that you are dwelling in me and bringing good out of everything that befalls me.  Help me to find contentment in that knowledge and to radiate that to all I meet today and every day.

Study by David Stirk

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