Text: Philippians 4:10-13
In his very personal letter to beloved friends, an old Apostle, who is nearing the end of his life and ministry, speaks to this subject of contentment. He even informs them that he has found the secret to this rather elusive virtue.
What I want to do is pull from this text 4 principles that lead the way to capturing this challenging – this godly and mature virtue we call contentment.
I) We Should Appreciate Whatever We Have! (4:10)
Your first step to learning the secret of contentment is to rejoice in God’s provision. This starts by acknowledging that everything you have comes from God.
If you want to learn the secret of contentment in all circumstances, the first step is to rejoice in God’s provision.
Appreciate whatever you have, and you are on your way to learning contentment.
II) We Should Apply Whatever We Learn (4:11)
The verb Paul uses informs us that he learned it by means of experience – over time.
Look at what he says in verse 11. “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content . . .” The word that he uses for “learned” refers to being ‘taught’ something so that it becomes a custom or a habit.
This is something according to Paul’s own testimony that he learned over a lifetime of practice. And that’s our responsibility too. Let’s make sure we’re doing the homework and getting the lessons right.
III) We Should Accept Wherever God Has Us (4:12)
So, does Paul really mean that he is content wherever the circumstances take him, or is he exaggerating here? Just in case you think he might not really mean what he says, Paul goes on to describe his own experience.
Paul had lived on both ends of the spectrum. He experienced times of excruciating need, and he experienced times of plenty. And he had learned the secret of being content in both situations. Paul didn’t seek satisfaction in material things when he didn’t have them, and he didn’t find his satisfaction in material things when he had them.
IV) We Should Abandon Ourselves to His Will (4:13)
He isn’t saying, “I can do anything – or I can do everything” – Paul is saying, “I can do all things through Christ” and what are the all things he has in mind? He just described them.
I can suffer hardship – I can go hungry without resentment – I can handle an overflowing cup with balance – I can hold the lowest humble status on the food chain – I can be stuffed with food, and I can be starving for food – I can be content in all things – how? Through the strength of the indwelling Christ within me.
Here’s the promise – God is effectively promising to give us the strength to do whatever He asks us to do.
How did Paul learn to be content? What was the secret to his contentment? Remember, to be content means that you are satisfied. Therefore, contentment means “having enough”.
The secret to contentment is to understand and acknowledge that when you have Christ; you have all you need.
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