Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. (Philippians 4:11)
One dictionary definition of contentment is: If you are content with something, you are willing to accept it, rather than wanting something more or something better.
I would go a step further and say being content, as a daughter of the King, belonging to His family, means I trust the circumstances of my life to be seen and under control of my heavenly Father.
This morning the weather was beautiful. It was quiet and still so I got on my bike thinking it would help me loosen the tight muscles in my body and sort out the stream of thoughts going through my mind at an ever increasing speed.
About half way through the ride, I began to notice that the ride was not accomplishing what I’d hoped for. My hands had a tight grip on the handlebars, my arms were tense, my neck was strained. My goal to breathe and let go of the worries surrounding me was far from being reached. I was riding my bike exactly how I had been living my life! Struggling to keep control of life’s happenings. My problem was that I was allowing my lack of control of life circumstances to rob me of contentment. Lack of control equaled lack of contentment.
Paul certainly had reason to not be content, yet he said he had learned how to be content with whatever he had. Here he was in prison and he was able to write this to the Philippians! How had he learned this great secret?
As I read chapter 4 of Philippians to figure out exactly how Paul had been (and probably still was in process) learning contentment, I saw the process he was sharing with the people of Philippi. Remember that God will transform our bodies and conform them to the body of His glory (3:21). Stand firm in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord always. Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything, and give thanks. Think about the things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Take now, take this moment, and remember. Then remember again, and again.
Questions to Ponder:
Does lack of control rob you of being content in all situations? If not control, then what?
What are you able to put into practice to help you be content?
Picture how your life would look if you lived truly content with life and its circumstances. Ask God to help you “not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2)
Prayer of Response:
Father forgive me for letting the worries of this world rob me of being content. Help me to remember what is really important in this world and to be still and know that You are God, You see me and You know me.
—Submitted by Stephanie Edsall
Stephanie and her husband Mike work for the Navigators, traveling to support and resource ministries in Western and Central Europe. They currently live in Beverly Massachusetts. They have begun to travel again as countries are opening to international travel. Stephanie is on the Global Leadership Team of Lifesprings International and serves on the prayer team and PACT (Peace Amidst Conflict Training team).