Contentment Part 1
What is contentment? Can you feel it when you have it? How do you know you have it? Can you even be content? Is it something you want? What are you willing to give up, to get it? Can it be found? Do the Scriptures say anything about contentment? That would definitely be the best place to start looking for answers to our questions. It is the most sufficient source to answer all our questions, including this one, and is still as relevant now as when it was written. Let's take a look at what it says and see what is all involved in being content.
One key verse we will start with is Philippians 4:11,"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in." The Apostle Paul explains a bit in verse 12,"I know how to get along with humble means, and I know how to live in prosperity, in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need." Sounds like Paul has found the answer of being content with circumstances that can range from one extreme to another. How did he arrive with being content in all things? Paul has learned in life, and thus knows some things, and thus now does some things. It is a spiritual mystery, it is to be learned, and to be learned as a mystery.
The word in Greek for content, autarkes, gives a sense of self sufficiency, simply having enough, being sufficient. As God is all-sufficient, not needing anything ever, ever being content, needing nothing added nor subtracted. John 1:16,"For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." We can look into some three key words here in grace, contentment and sufficient. Paul uses these words to teach us some valuable lifelong lessons. In 2 Cor.12:9-10, he gives us the confident words he shares with us regarding his thrice requested for relief, thorn in the flesh. The insight the Spirit gave to him to write down for you and me is in verses nine and ten." And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ will dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong."
Contentment comes through God's grace and His all sufficiency toward us in Christ. The non-believer will never be truly content for he does not have Christ, unlike the believer that has supernatural power exerted by God to meet all our needs to accomplish God's will. One point to ponder ‘til next week is that Paul says as a man that he learned to be content, it did not just come naturally. That sounds just like another Man that learned something as well, learning obedience through suffering, (Heb.5:8), yes Jesus, One who was fully God and yet fully man. 2Cor.9:8,"And God is able (not just willing) to make all grace abound to you, SO THAT always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have a abundance for every good deed." God always gives enough, never less, but often more than what is required to make us content. Lord willing, looking forward to sharing more about contentment next week.
Elder Randy Slak