"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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." ~ Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV)
- What challenges do you face in remaining content?
- How do you remain content in joy and in times of trouble?
- What's the secret?
- Who's the secret?
- Is it us or Jesus?
- How do you define contentment?
- Is it a feeling or a state of being?
- Is it based on the state of your heart and mind or is it based on where your heart is focused?
And Yet He Remained Content
The Greek word for content is autarkēs and means:
2) independent of external circumstances
3) contented with one's lot, with one's means, though the slenderest
The second definition stands out to me. Independent of external circumstances. Can we remain content despite the externals around us?
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
Whether we are high on the mountaintop or in the throws of depression, we, too, can be content, or rather, have the potential to become content, knowing that our strength comes from Jesus.
It's all about Jesus. Looking up when we are feeling down. Looking up when we're feeling up. Looking within our hearts where He dwells. Finding our strength for contentment in Him.
Breathe - Sometimes we just forget to breathe. Taking a deep breath re-fills our lungs and sends oxygen to our brains, clearing our thoughts, reminding us that God has us in His hands. God has made our life nothing but a vapor. "You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah" ~ Psalm 39:5 (NIV)
Pray - God is faithful to hear our prayers. Just knowing He is listening is very comforting. Think back to a time when God has answered your prayer and remember His faithfulness. "I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer." ~ Psalm 17:6 (NIV)
Release - Literally casting our anxiety on Christ, we can find true contentment. The key to this is not taking that anxiety back. Leave it with Jesus, who is far better equipped to deal with it than we are. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ~ 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Wrapping It Up
Questions for Reflection: Are you willing to choose to be content despite the externals around you? Where does your source of contentment come from?
O - Operate based on what God's Word says, not what your emotions say. "But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." ~ 1 John 2:5-6 (NIV)
N - Nourish yourself by reading God's Word daily. "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path." ~ Psalm 119:103-104 (NIV)
T - Trust God to keep you in perfect peace, no matter what comes your way. "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." ~ Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)
E - Ensure that you spend plenty of time with God in prayer. "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
N - Never doubt Jesus as your source of strength through faith. "Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done." ~ Matthew 21:21 (NIV)
T - Trust God so completely that living a life of contement and emotional stability is as natural as breathing. "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah" ~ Psalm 62:8 (NIV)
Note: This post is a re-run from Monday, May 18, 2009.