“Contentment has been praised more and practiced less than any other condition in life.” – Anonymous. Contentment is a very easy thing to talk about, but statistically it is not something that many attain. It is, however, a vital necessity for our spiritual endurance.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 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” (Philippians 4:11-12). Paul was not pontificating about some ethereal mental state, he was expressing a deep truth he had learned in life. His content state of mind gave him stability and endurance in all circumstances.
The majority of Americans are not content or satisfied with their lives today – various polling data bears out what we have already perceived. Why is that? Very simply, a self-driven mind always wants more and detests anything less. Solomon explains it this way: “All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast” (Proverb 15:15). There is a spiritual connection – the condition of one’s heart – between contentment and discontentment.
The content can be happy when in plenty and be equally content in trying circumstances. Our spiritual connection to God is what makes the difference. A good example of that would be the apostles after they had just been beaten for speaking in Christ’s name. “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). These, men were in a state of mind that was a “continual feast.”
Receiving and using the Holy Spirit is key to that contentment. It is something we learn as we mature in God’s way of life.
A big part of the contentment that Paul learned through the Holy Spirit is that of thankfulness. “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). A changed heart is one that more and more sees blessings in every circumstance that God bestows on us. We learn not to trust in ourselves when conditions are good because we are consciously, deliberately thanking Him for what He provides. Additionally, we learn to be content in trials because we know that His very character and mind is being developed in us through them.
Let us be among those who practice contentment!