Am I really content? That’s the question that’s loitering in my head this morning as I rewind yesterday’s message in my mind. Can I really say as Paul said in Philippians 4: 11-13 that I have learned the secret of being content?
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned , in whatsoever state I am , therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased , and I know how to abound : every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need . 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV)
11 And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. 12 I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. 13 I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me. (GNT)
It would be easy to blast off a quick yes I’m happy with what I have but closer inspection of the word contentment is necessary. According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, contentment is an internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances. The American Heritage Dictionary defines content has desiring no more than what has or satisfied; ready to accept or acquiesce; willing.
In examining those two definitions, I can easily see that I don’t fully measure up to Paul’s declaration. I can think of situations I don’t readily accept. Nelson’s Illustrated Dictionary defines content as freedom from anxiety or worry.
The idea of of contentment comes from a Greek word that means “independence” or “self-sufficiency”. But the apostle Paul used the word in a Christian sense to show that real satisfaction or sufficiency comes from God:
Quite frankly there are some conditions I find myself in that I become irritated and anxiously await change to come. So how does one be content yet expectantly wait for fulfillment of the promises? Hmmm, a quick search of my blog archives reveal this has not been the first time I have pondered the question. In a post titled Satisfaction Guaranteed, I stated the following:
How can I be satisfied when I don’t like what is occurring around me? Honestly, I haven’t mastered the art of contentment. But in reading something the other day, I gained greater insight on contentment. When I know and trust that where I am is not outside of God’s radar, I can be confident that He is orchestrating all things and that there is indeed a plan for my life. Therefore, I can patiently wait on Him.