Read: Philippians 4
As Paul wraps up this amazing letter to the church at Philippi, he closes with one of the hardest things to arrive at in the human experience… contentment. It has become something that we talk about a lot but don’t know how to arrive at. It is something that we grasp at, but for so many of us it seems to slip through our fingers.
Contentment is more than good circumstances. It is deep satisfaction and fulfillment.
We know contentment when we see it… and it is attractive. Would you say that your life is marked by contentment?
Look at what Paul says about contentment again. It’s kind of radical…
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 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.
Look at what he says. He has learned the secret of being content in plenty AND hunger… abundance AND need. Paul knew all of these well. He faced more than pandemics, closures, and isolation (which are all serious things). He faced shipwreck, beatings, stonings, prison, and more. Yet, he says EVEN IN THAT he is content. Where does this radical contentment come from? It comes from his deep rooted sense of identity in Jesus…
As we look back through the book of Phlippians, we see Paul instruct is in 5 big things that can help us live a life of contentment in Jesus:
1) Remember The Gospel (3:1-11)
We need to fight every day to remember what we have been given in grace. We do not have to WORK for righteousness… We get to TRUST for righteousness. When we live in the truth that we are a new creation in Jesus we are one step closer to living a content life.
2) Remember Your Purpose (3:12-16)
We have one purpose. One goal. To strain toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (v.14). When we remember that this is why we live, poor circumstances in life cannot rob us of contentment because they are not where we are finding our contentment to begin with.
3) Remember Where You Belong (3:17-21)
We are not citizens of this world, we are citizens of heaven. I don’t let the circumstances of Australia dictate my emotion because that is not my home. It is not that we don’t care about what happens in this world; It is just that we are citizens of heaven. Heaven should have more influence over our heart and contentment than earth.
4) Remember The Lifeline Of Prayer (4:4-7)
One of the biggest assets we have in our relationship with Jesus is prayer… but often we treat it as a liability. Prayer is one of the greatest blessings that we have. It is our “IV” to Jesus. When we live a lifestyle of prayer it breathes contentment into our lives.
5) Remember To Think On Things From Above (4:8-9)
Most of our struggles with contentment start in our mind. We dwell on the wrong things. We dwell on things that we expect to bring us fulfillment and satisfaction and they just can’t live up. Our mind is the control center. Paul calls us to let things of God define our thinking… to renew and transform our minds (Romans 12:1-2).
When we live this lifestyle we can have contentment… even in the darkest of circumstances. We may not always be happy in what we are walking through in this world but we can be fulfilled and satisfied in the life that we have in Jesus.
What have you learned about contentment in your life? Comment below!
By: Nick Parsons
Philippians 4:6-7 is the most searched Bible verse on google according to a book I just finished. People are searching everywhere for contentment in an effort to rid themselves of the anxieties of this world. It is clear where contentment is truly found in this chapter and that is in HIM alone.
Loved this today nick. Can’t wait to share with entire family! Hits close to home!
And it's all for the best most unimagiably good prize. (Phil. 3:14). This chapter never fails to be the medicine for the soul. Love it brother and thank you friends.
Excellent word today Nick! If we’re really honest about it, most of us in America have never really known serious hardship. (I hope I haven’t offended anyone who has). My worst day is likely better than many people in the world’s best day. I’ve never contemplated if I’ll have my next meal, will I have a place to live, a way to heat or cool my home, educate my children, etc. Many people in the world dream of such luxurious that we can easily take for granted.
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice.
Verse 4 totally convicted my heart today. On my worst day, which is usually a 1st world problem, do I reflect “joy in the Lord”? My response, regardless of the severity of the problem, should be gratitude and a spirit of thanksgiving. My prayer is that I will be content and full of gratitude for the blessing of my salvation. As Tim Parsons frequently says, “If God did NOTHING else He’s already done too much”. Blessings Jumpstart readers and be careful on the ice today.
Well said Nick. Good encouragement to get my day started! Philippians has been such a blessing this week!
I find that I am the least content when the busyness of my schedule has me locked in to the things of this world. Even good things can become contentment stealers if I am not reminding myself of "why" behind them. An example of this is the freshmen group I help lead at the BCM. It is so easy to get so busy with other parts of my life that tis becomes another thing on a schedule. When this happens and something subsequently something goes wrong within that group, my contentment goes through the window. However, when I am focused on eternity and the impact this will have for Jesus, I am freed from this cycle and am content no matter the circumstance thrown in there.
So true man! Have to have that eternal perspective!
One thing that extra stuck out to me today again is just how he says contentment is "learned"... we are not naturally content... we naturally want more and more.
Contentment is rooted in self control... which is rooted in walking in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5)!
This is 110% a fact.
Such great commentary and scriptural references today, Nick! Truly blessed me.
I am so grateful that contentment in the Lord is reliable, constant, consistent and never changing.
Stay safe and warm JumpStart family!
Contentment for me, like joy, is a matter of decision. If I choose to be satisfied by Christ, contentment in everything else follows. It’s a matter of deciding that you already have everything you need for life and godliness (2Peter1:3) and that you are right where you are by God’s design (Acts17:26-27).
Surprisingly, being content with much seems far more difficult for most folks than being content with little!
As a new Christian I remember wondering how a seasoned believer who was going through a horrible experience could be so joyful...until I found by personal experience that he just made the choice to rejoice, and God showed up to make it real. Once you decide that wherever you are and whatever you have is exactly where you are supposed to be and exactly what you need for the moment, then contentment has an open door to flood right in.
At some point in the past 15 years, I found myself praying Psalm 63 and asking God to satisfy me whenever I found myself discontent. Guess what? He always has!
Beautiful stuff. :) Thanks, Nick!
Wow, great stuff today, Nick! Contentment is so hard at times. We always want the next big thing, or we try to "keep up with the Joneses," as they say. Over the last few years, there have been a few times where I have not gotten what I have prayed so hard for. Whether it was a promotion at work, or a situation with my family, or a few other things, God either said "no" or "wait." That was hard for me in the moment, but as time went on, I learned to rest in God, or to be content where God had me. When I realized that God was in full control and had my best interests in mind the whole time, I was able to look back and see that he knew best in each situation, and ultimately, He knew what I needed at that time. Learning contentment is a hard lesson sometimes (it was for me), but God reveals Himself through it, so I trust Him more for the future. God is in control...rest in that, trust Him for everything, because He won't fail you! Very encouraged in this today!
I often like to think that I am content in the life God has given me, but my frequent failure to share the gospel with those around me or to have a mindset completely focused on the gospel is evidence that I am not totally content in Christ. It is an area of my life that is need of growth. Thank you for the reminder this morning that true contentment comes hand in hand with prioritizing Christ and does not just come from easy life circumstances!
I really enjoyed reading this today. Both Philippians 4 and this post reminded me of the song we used to sing at CPC-“I Will Follow.” There is another song titled “I Will Wait” that comes to mind.
I definitely struggled big time with this (I still do sometimes!) my second year of teaching. I had to daily remind myself of where the Lord had brought me and where he had placed me for that day. I know the Lord was trying to teach me A LOT and contentment and trust during that season of my life. I am so grateful that I can look back at those difficult few years now and see God’s protection and faithfulness in my life. When have to daily remind ourselves of the gospel, our purpose, and our where we belong.
Thanks for this encouragement today!
Enjoyed the daily commentaries about Philippians! Powerful message today!
This ties in so well with a video I just watched (I think God is trying to make a point) - Jackie Hill Perry was talking about want and desire, and wanting things apart from God. She pointed out that we want “X” because we doubt that God is enough.
If you are a believer, you automatically have enough! By default your cup is running over!
Love this message today Nick, thank you!