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Learning To Be Content

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  Philippians 4:11-12 (NKJV)

We are told, “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6), and the Apostle Paul said, I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11).  This amazes me knowing the hardships he endured and was constantly facing.  We are told Paul was whipped five times (2 Cor. 11:24)—each time with 39 lashes.  The whip or “scourge” as it was known, had tiny pieces of metal, bone, wire, or hardened clay attached to the strands so it would rip the flesh open. 

In addition to the scourging, Paul was beaten with rods three times, stoned once, and shipwrecked another three times. He was often without sleep, food, or clothing as a result of the perils he faced.  And yet he actually learned to be content, regardless of what he faced (2 Cor 11:25-27).  I believe many of us reading these verses would have a hard time being content if we found ourselves naked, starving, or being beaten.  I can say with great confidence, each of us has — or will at some point — struggle with truly being content because of a difficulty we are going through, or simply because of our desire to have more, or perhaps something different.

Q: As Christian men and women, how can we learn to be truly content?

I believe the answer lies in how we understand and apply God’s truth.  For instance, if we truly believe God’s Word then we can be confident He is on the throne and in control (Isa. 41:10; 59:1; Ps. 55:22 Nahum 1:7).  God has a perfect plan for each of our lives (Jer. 29:11), and He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5-6).  He has promised to complete the good work He has begun in us (Phil. 1:6), and He has made a promise to provide for our needs (Matt. 6:25-33).  These are just a few things we can choose to think upon when we’re being tempted to fear, worry, or doubt our future, safety, and provisions. 

I think to truly be content we must stop and reflect on what we have already been given by God.  We should ask ourself, “What would I have without God?  What would my eternal future be?”  When we do this, we begin to realize the abundant blessings He has already given unto us — things such as our very lives, our health, our family, our friends, every provision, and every good and perfect gift (Jas. 1:17).   Just think about the gift of salvation and the hope that comes with it.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

Knowing and understanding how much we have already been given and possess because of God’s great love for us, shouldn’t we be able to learn to be content in whatever state we’re in?

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these things today.  Stop and identify what your life would be like without the things God has already given to you.  Choose to be content in these things. 

STUDY QUESTION: According to Romans 6:23 what gift have we been given?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Can you learn to be content if you are given no more than the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Choose to focus on what you have been given, and what you possess in Christ Jesus, and not on what you don’t have.

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for Your abundant gift of eternal life.  Thank You for my health and every provision You have graciously given to me.  I love you Lord…In Jesus’ precious name…

Be blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000