ODJ: Choosing Contentment

April 5, 2018 

READ: Philippians 4:10-13 

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything (vv.11-12).

The story is told of a king who was looking for satisfaction in life. His advisors told him to wear the shirt of a contented man for a day, and he would be cured of his discontent. His men searched the kingdom for a contented man so they could bring his shirt to the king, but they returned empty-handed. The king was furious. In response, his men told the king, “We found a contented man, but he does not own a shirt.”

We live in a world grasping for contentment. Pastor Ray Stedman said, “Contentment is not having all that you want. True contentment is wanting only what you have.” The apostle Paul was a very contented man. But it wasn’t something that came naturally to him. Twice Paul said he had to learn to be content (Philippians 4:11-12).

Contentment is an intentional choice. “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less,” advises philosopher G. K. Chesterton. Contentment is something we have to choose.

Called to suffer for Christ (Acts 9:16), Paul didn’t have a charmed life (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). He was in a Roman prison when he wrote, “I have learned how to be content . . . in every situation” (Philippians 4:11-12). Paul’s contentment didn’t result from life’s circumstances, but from his commitment. When hemmed in by life’s difficulties, he responded, “To live is Christ.” When in the jaws of death, he proclaimed: “To die is gain” (1:21 niv).

Paul’s secret to contentment was to find it “through Christ, who gives me strength” (4:13). Regardless of our circumstances, may we turn to Him and experience calm confidence based in the power He provides. In Jesus, we have all we need (2 Corinthians 12:9).

—K.T. Sim

365-day plan: 2 Samuel 11:1-27

Read 1 Tim. 6:6-8 to see why contentment is a distinguishing characteristic of a godly person. 
Are you feeling content right now? Why or why not? What will help you to find contentment in Christ?