The Secret of Contentment


Paul was not the victim of circumstances but victorious over circumstances. Instead of having spiritual ups and downs as the situation changed, he went right on, steadily serving Christ. He found contentment in things Christ provided. At times Paul experienced definite financial and material needs and at other times he had an abundance (v. 12). Regardless of the situation he had learned to be content in whatsoever state he was in (v. 11). Contentment is not complacency, nor is it a false peace based on ignorance. The word actually means contained. It is the description of a man who resources are within and he does not depend on substitutes from without.

Paul’s happiness did not depend on circumstances or things. His joy came from something deeper than prosperity. In fact prosperity has often done more damage to believers than adversity (v. 13).  The Christian has all power within that he needs to cope with the demands of life. Paul thanks the church at Philippi for the generous gift they had sent him. He compares it to a budding tree (v. 10), and investment (vv. 14-17), and sacrifice (v. 18). He sees this gift as a supply of his need from heaven and not just something coming from Philippi. Hudson Taylor often said, when God’s work is done God’s way for God’s glory, it will not lack for God’s supply."


To what am I drawn when I feel empty inside? The answer lies in my perspective, my priorities and where I go to for my source of power.

Philippians 4:08-13 (English Standard Version)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

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