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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. –Philippians 4:12-13
I remember reading this for the first time and thinking, ‘Wow. There it is: The secret to being content.’
Contentment is what we are all after isn’t it? Our very own Bill of Rights states that we have the freedom ‘pursue happiness.’ It doesn’t give us the freedom to happiness because we don’t really know how to be happy. We buy houses, cars, clothes, movies, vacations, computers, cell phones, and anything else that suits us because they make us happy. We seek friendships, marriages, and community in hopes that surrounds ourselves with people will make us happy. We update our Facebook status and post stunning photos on Instagram in hopes that popularity will make us happy as we portray perfect, content lives.
But it’s never enough. The richest woman in the world still desires another pair of shoes. We love our homes but dream of living in the spectacular one down the street. If you ask me, the pursuit of happiness exhausting.
But God didn’t intend for you to live as a hamster running in a little wheel, never getting ahead. True contentment comes from trusting God and accepting the blessings that He freely gives.
The above scripture was written by the Apostle Paul. He knew a thing or two about suffering for the cause of Christ and that is why I think that his advice is so true. If you read through the book of Acts you’ll find many accounts of what he suffered and gave up to further God’s Kingdom. One of my favorite stories is that of him and Silas praising God while they sat in a prison cell. Even in prison they found happiness in serving God. In similar situations I don’t know if I would have praised God. If we are being honest I grumble about having to go to work each day.
So what’s the secret to being content in each and every situation? It’s forgetting about trying to make yourself happy and following God no matter what how wonderful or desperate the situation may seem. It’s living for God instead of yourself.
The secret to being content is not what our society would have you believe it is. Let’s try to break this down in a way that will help us understand what it is and what it is not.
It isn’t about Getting What I Want
This may come as a bit of a shocker but being content doesn’t mean getting what you want. Getting what you want isn’t wrong and it will bring you happiness for a little while but what we are going for is actually being content no matter what and that type of happiness can only come from knowing that God is taking care of you regardless of the situation and being willing to suffer for a little while in the knowledge that the only thing that matters is furthering God’s Kingdom.
It isn’t about Being Comfortable
I like being comfortable but I know that all the comforts on Earth are temporary and cannot compare to the comforts of eternity in Heaven. It’s not about my comfort but knowing that God is on my side-and there is nothing better than that!
It isn’t about Getting what I deserve
Do you want to know the truth? You don’t deserve to have everything that you ever wanted, and if you did have it all you still wouldn’t be happy. In fact, when you look at your own sinful nature you probably deserve much, much less than you already have. However, God has given us so much more than we deserve by simply sending Jesus to be our Savior. I am happy that God hasn’t given me what I deserve.
It’s about giving it all up and trusting God
In verse 13 Paul says, I can do all this through Him who give me strength. The secret to being content is giving it all to God. Just give Him your whole life and trust Him in every situation. Look to Him for happiness-not your own desires.
I think that Paul knows what he is talking about but I am also not so naïve to think that this is easy. God’s way is contradictory to what the world says will make us happy and after 28 years of being told that I must have more, more, more to be happy giving it all up and simply trusting is not easy.
So this is the secret to being content. I want to honor and thank God by giving Him my life and I truly believe that I will find happiness in trusting Him.
Agree? Disagree? How has God has given you happiness and contentment?