In today’s society, so many people seem to go through life searching for the magic answer that will bring them happiness and fulfillment. They may turn to money, relationships, prestige, drugs, possessions, or achievements to fill that void. However, none of those can bring genuine contentment, satisfaction; only Jesus is our true satisfying portion! As David declared, “LORD, You alone are my portion and my cup” (Psalm 16:5).
The apostle Paul highlighted this truth in the fourth chapter of Philippians. As he reflected on his wide scope of experiences, he wrote, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (v. 12). Yet, through it all, he testified, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (v. 11). Paul had discovered the key that his contentment rested not on the circumstances that surrounded him, but on his security in Christ.
In another passage, Paul asserted, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Paul obviously valued the contentment he gained from Jesus, and we should as well. Indeed, contentment is so valuable that we should guard it by following some important lessons from Scripture.
One essential key to maintaining contentment is to keep a thankful attitude for the good things God has given us. So often, we crave everything we don’t have while we overlook the blessings right in front of us.
However, the writer of Hebrews gives instructions on how to break that restless cycle of discontent. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For, He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5). You see, true contentment comes not from perishable possessions, but only from our eternal relationship with Jesus.
Another important key to maintaining contentment is learning how to rest in the Lord. Sometimes, we can get busy trying to impress God with exploits when He just desires to see us live a simple, godly lifestyle. After all, Proverbs 21:3 says, “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”
We should listen to these words of God spoken through the psalmist: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). While we should never be complacent, we must understand our limits and quit trying to work in our own strength alone. Instead, we should simply obey the Lord, trust Him, and enjoy His rest.
We must also be careful to keep our emotions in check. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to get us flustered, upset, or stressed at times. When that happens, we should declare as the psalmist, “Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:7). The psalmist David took the initiative to speak to his own soul and tell it to return to a state of rest. He reminded himself that God had blessed him tremendously and there was no need to be upset.
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We can do the same. The next time you start to feel worried, angry, or upset, stop and remind yourself that God has been good to you. Talk to yourself! Count your blessings and tell your soul to return to its rest.
Always remember that contentment comes from Christ, not from circumstances. We must understand that the amount of “stuff” we have or what we achieve does not determine our identity. Only when we realize who we are in Christ will we find genuine peace. Then, we will enjoy true contentment and experience great gain.
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