Contentment is the attitude of accepting whatever God provides, and being happy with it. It does not seek for gratification what is not needed, and does not seek happiness in the shallow things of life. When you are more concerned with how others are doing than how you are doing, you will be on the right track. (Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; Romans 9:19-21; Philippians. 4: 10-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-9; Hebrews 13: 5)
Discontent, Stress, Selfishness and Unhappiness are opposites. Selfish people are never content, because they place too many barriers of desires that can never be gratified. Contentment cannot become rooted in you if you harbor distrust and stress, as the focus will be on your situation, and not who you are in Christ. Being discontent will prevent the work of God in your heart and your will.
Contentment realizes who we are in Christ, the insurmountable, incredible, and wonderful blessing we have in Grace. It sees the tremendous privilege we have in Him. With this attitude, we are to strive to give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. With our eyes on Him, our gaze is away from ourselves. Contentment further acknowledges that we fully belong to God, and He is Sovereign in the universe, so, we can fully trust Him in any situation we find ourselves--period! We can relinquish control over our lives, and take God seriously in all aspects of our journey here on earth, as Christ is our All in All! Thus, we can be content with whatever situation He has called us to endure, and with any call He has made for us.
Contentment fuels the work of faith, humility, submission, dependence, and unselfishness, which will produce virtue and patience that sees and feels the work of the Lord. Consider Paul while he was writing Philippians, Chapter Four. He was in a heinous situation, in prison, tied to the floor, lying in his own excrement. Where others would see no hope, his focus was on Christ. Paul was content because he knew that the times, the seasons, and the opportunities of life were temporary, completely controlled by God. All that mattered to him was that God be glorified, and the other people in his life were taken care of (Phil. 4:10; 19-23). When we really, fully trust in Christ, just as Paul did, we will be a contented Christian.
If you still feel contentment escaping you, then you also need to realize you must allow the work of the Spirit to flow in and out of you! Allow Him to reveal your true condition, and surrender your Will to Him. This means also realizing we are owed nothing, we deserve nothing, due to sin, and, we do not deserve His Grace which we have. If we can seek His Will and contentment by subtracting our desires and Will until we are satisfied only with what Christ brings us, then we will see contentment at work within us. This contentment will not allow fear to grip us, or seek merely the "here and now" from life, which causes stress and discontent. Rather, we are to seek eternity, with our eyes upon Him. With the Spirit's work within us, we can appreciate what Christ has done for us, thus not allowing blame and judgmental attitudes to reign in us. We can be flexible in any situation, with a heart filled with gratitude fueling our outlook and focus. This will keep depression away, too (unless you have chemical imbalances, too)!
Be willing to learn how to share love with others. When you have others' interests in your mindset, your focus in life will become clear, because contentment is not about ourselves, it is about Christ working in us, and being contagious with His work, so it flows onto others around us (Gal. 5:13; 6:2; 10; Eph. 4:2; 32).
- How do I exhibit being Content in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a mindset to trust God for all I have and need, thus choosing Contentment, even if I do not understand?
- What blocks me from being Content?
- How can I make Contentment function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
- How would you define Contentment?
- What are the things that cause you to be unhappy and stressed?
- How does stress counteract Contentment?
- What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we refuse to trust Christ, choosing, rather, to live in stress and strife?
- When have you most been filled with Contentment?
- In what situation did you fail to be Content when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Content?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Contentment into action in a specific instance. Ask yourself, am I satisfied with what I have in life? Why, or why not? What do you need to do to fully realize God's sovereignty over the universe, including your life? How can you change your thinking and lifestyle to reflect God's goodness, so you can be happy just having Him in you?
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (1 Samuel 13:6-14; Proverbs 18:1; Luke 10:38-40)
Do not allow the robber, whether it is your desires, or your situation, steal contentment away (John 10:10)!
"Contentment is a sweet, inward heart thing. It is a work of the Spirit indoors. It is a box of precious ointment, very comforting and useful for troubled hearts in times of troubled conditions." "It is the inward submission of the heart." Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646)
© 2002, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org