The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church of Philippi shares the secret to being content: “I have learned to be content no matter what happens to me. I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more that I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough or not enough. I can do everything by the power of Christ who gives me strength.” Phillippians 4 v 11-13. Oxford dictionary defines contentment as “the state of being mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.” Contentment is being satisfied with what you have and with who you are, right now.
It is rare to find someone who is truly content with his or her situation. Being satisfied with things as they are does not mean we stop trying to improve our situation, it simply means we are at peace in “this season.” Let’s face it, even if we choose not to be content with things as they are, it won’t change anything, because we don’t have the power to change anything on our own.
Being content is a choice that we have to make. It is the state of mind. It is not the fulfillment of what we want but the realization of how much we already have. The enemy will always makes other people’s lives look better than yours, that somehow you are missing out on something.
It is amazing how we worship the idea of getting what we do not have. We are forever desiring for things we don’t have. Always looking for the next big thing. Thinking, if only I can have that, I will be satisfied. If only I can get married, then I will be happy and everything will be fine. Forgetting that the ending of one problem is the beginning of the other. When you end the problems of being single, you enter into problems of being married. The reality is, there will never be a time in our lives where we are problem-free. I hate to be the one to break this to you but once you overcome your current struggle, know that there is another one waiting for you. To be content is knowing that if we have Jesus we have enough.
The Apostle Paul has suffered many things: betrayal, being whipped, beaten with rods, bitten by a poisonous snake, imprisoned and shipwrecked. And yet he tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances.” Contentment starts with the attitude of gratitude. Being grateful for what you already have while believing God for what you still desire. There is always something to be grateful for. The enemy might not take away what you have, he just devalues it in your eyes until you don’t appreciate it anymore, that way he continue to keep you in the cage of discontentment.
To be content is not denying your feeling about desiring what you do not have, but rather it shows a freedom from being controlled by those feelings. No matter how bad your situation is right now, there is someone out there whose situation is far worse that yours. We are all familiar with Helen Keller’s quote “ I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” I suppose this experience changed her perspective of her own situation.
Being content is not pretending things are ok when they are not, but it is displaying the peace that comes from knowing that God is bigger than any problems and that He is working them all out for our good.