By Lori Beard
Phil. 4:12 I have learned the secret of being content in everything.
Come on Paul. Tell me the secret. Yell that secret to working mommas who yearn to be home. Tell it to stay at home moms who yearn to get away from their kid. What is the secret? What did you learn? How about wives who are married to Christian fellas and are loved but not loved quite like the lady married to so and so. Their man does not do date night, he does not say sweet things. Can you teach contentment, Paul, to the ones who are living life so fast that there is no time to breathe? Bible time? Ha! Prayer time? Ha! Fellowship? Ha! Always gotta go and be doing. More sports, more shows, more stuff. More this and that, but no contentment. Paul, were you really content in money and stuff? Did you really learn to be okay with little and with less? Can you teach that to me? Because I often think I have to have more. I am like the more monster. Some is never enough. Cliff works overtime and we miss him BUT the overtime is good because regular pay is never enough. Well, what is the secret? I clearly need to know. We clearly need to know, because we are drowning in discontentment. So how do we “learn” contentment? Well, I go to the same source I have gone to for years – my Bible. The sweetest source of truth ever. So, what does the Bible say?
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. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
“I have learned to be content in all circumstances.” Thankful to get support and help but okay if God was all he had. How could that be? Verse 13 says through Christ. Contentment is only possible through Christ. We are not able in our own broken, sinful states to be content. We must seek our peace and contentment in Christ alone and through his strength. Have you asked him for contentment? Do you even know where you lack contentment? Clearly Paul was content even in his need. He had not had every need met, but, he did have contentment. Paul was content even though he was not being served and loved well by his friends/family. Paul was content because Jesus was enough. Wow. Big deal.
1Tim. 6: 6-10
and imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
We brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out. What would happen if we really believed that? What if the attitude we had about our homes, our cars, our toys, our clothes and our food was that it did not belong to us? What if we really believed that? How would that change our contentment level? Would we ever need more or better if we understood that all we have already is a gift from God? What would happen to our ability to give if we knew it was not ours to begin with? Would we pay our taxes with more joy? Would we readily support homeless shelters and take care of widows and orphans? Is part of our contentment problem a selfish problem? We’re desperately trying to hold onto what is not ours. And what about verse 10? The love of money causes us to wander from the faith and pierce ourselves with pangs. That is exactly what discontentment feels like – pangs of pain, shards of glass constantly eating away at your insides robbing your joy. Never, ever satisfied. Always in need of more. So maybe part of learning to be content is learning to hold the things of this world loosely. Temporal things have no real value in light of eternity.
And that I believe is the key to contentment. Finding out what has real value and then vesting your time and energy into that. What do you value? Do you value things that will last into eternity or do you value things that will only matter for this short lifetime?
Contentment has to be learned. Paul learned it through hardship and suffering. He learned it through loss of material things and his own personal freedom. He learned to be content with God. God was enough in every single circumstance. He valued God and the things that would bring glory to God. I pray that I will find my contentment in Christ alone. I want to stop wasting my life on things without real value.
So, what does that look like? Well, for sure it will look like investing in my family. Discipling my kids and grand kids. It will for sure look like being mentored and mentoring other women to love Jesus (Titus 2). It will for sure look like loving my husband respectfully and honorably (Eph 5). It will for sure look radical to a culture who values everything but Jesus. Oh God, help me value You so much that contentment and joy is who I am in Christ.
Learn to be content women of God. You will never regret it.