ODJ: content where we are

October 4, 2015 

READ: Philippians 4:11-13 

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have (v.11).

We’ve heard the stories: a man leaves his wife of many years for a woman he has met at work—disorienting and disillusioning his family.

A woman turns from her husband, opting for the man she connected with online, leaving her family heartbroken and bewildered.

A couple, pillars of their local church, suddenly bolt to join a new fellowship that just opened its doors—prompting their home church of many years to wonder what went wrong.

A family is ripped from its community—their friends, their schools, their church—when an unexpected job change demands relocation.

What these stories have in common is displacement and disruption. And circumstances like these can easily and understandably lead to discontentment. We’re troubled with the way our stories have unfolded, unhappy with the life we know. Things weren’t supposed to be this way . . .

The apostle Paul had every reason to be discontent. He endured shipwrecks, beatings, whippings, being stoned, going without food and drink, being betrayed and being cold and sleepless (2 Corinthians 11:22-27). And undoubtedly he did struggle with discontentment. But the apostle wrote, “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have” (Philippians 4:11). With God’s help, this is something we can develop by treasuring our good gifts no matter the circumstances.

Even in our most difficult times, we can find things to be thankful for—God’s comfort, for instance. It takes practice to think about what is pure and lovely when confronted with corruption and ugliness.

Because of what God has provided, we can be content with the good in our hard situations. May we rest in Him as we pray for His kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10).

—Marlena Graves

365-day-plan: Luke 24:44-53

Read Philippians 4:8. What are some of the good and lovely things in your life? Can you give thanks to God for them today? 
How did Jesus live out contentment even as He faced the harsh actions of others? What must change for you to be more content?