Tag Archives: contentment
“There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well.” (Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember) As we conclude our study of the term JOY in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, we are looking at his sixteenth (and last) use of that term this morning.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (ch. 4)
There is so much here that we can learn from the Apostle Paul! He is JOYFUL that the Colossian believers are able to help him financially, but their assistance gives him the opportunity to talk about contentment.
Notice the intensity of Paul’s REJOICING: “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord”! His rejoicing is not specifically in the material support the Colossian believers are providing for him. His JOY is in the Lord. And he expresses his REJOICING as “greatly.”
Second, notice the context of his REJOICING: Paul has learned a secret, the secret of being content whatever one’s material condition might be! Whether in need or in plenty, Paul has learned something of extreme value — to be content. His contentment is there whether he is well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. The critical issue isn’t his circumstances, but where Paul puts his focus — on the One “who gives me strength.”
Contentment isn’t resignation. It isn’t a kind of stoic grit-your-teeth and toughen your way through life. Biblical contentment is JOYFUL trust in the Sovereign One who oversees us in our lack or abundance. That’s Paul’s focus.
Thank you for staying with me for this study. If you think I should take these posts and write a more extensive, but short, book on this topic, please leave me a comment. Blessings. Larry
The concept of fullness comes up again in this second chapter. As he “contends” for the Colossians and for those at Laodicean, he wants them to “have the full riches of complete understanding . . .” (v. 2).
Paul continues, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness” (vv. 9-10).
We should seek the full riches of complete understanding in our fully divine Savior that we might be brought to fullness! Pursuing fullness today? In Him?
(By the way, Who does the nailing in v. 14?)
A Prayer for Fullness: “Lord of Fullness, please forgive my satisfaction with my emptiness and my shallowness in spiritual things. Give me a hunger and a thirst, Father, for a deeper walk with Your fully divine Son. And with that fullness, give me a contentment that can only be found in Him. Help me, Lord, to pray for that kind of fullness for those other than myself! In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
1 My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
It is true — we are always looking for MORE! The Prosperity gospel promises more to its adherents — more wealth, more success, more health. But isn’t it true that sometimes we serve God better with our wounds than with our wellness? Isn’t it the case that when we have less or little, we find our satisfaction in Him?
It is certainly appropriate that we long for MORE of the Lord, MORE justice in the world, MORE opportunities to share the gospel.
I guess it all depends on what the object of the MORE is?
CONTENTMENT! The Bible says a lot about being content. For example, the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:2- “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.”
Paul dogmatically declares in 1 Timothy 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” Then he says in 1 Timothy 6:8, “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” The writer to the Hebrews commands, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5). When our lives are marked by discontent, we are actually making a statement about the God of the universe. We are saying that He is not enough, that His presence does not satisfy us.
What a privilege to have God’s Word — and to able to read it! Most of the books of the Bible can be profitably “unit-read,” which means to read straight through the book without stopping.
We are so addicted to chapter and verse divisions, aren’t we? There might be some versions of the Bible out there without chapter and verse divisions, but I don’t know of any.
Today’s book is Philippians. Here are my notes:
There are many takeaways from this wonderful letter, but let me give you only one:
My takeaway: I want to boast in the Lord and in the Lord’s people without reservation and without hesitation!