Scripture: Philippians 4:11-13
Journal: How content are you? How tied is your level of contentment to your moods, feelings, or circumstances? How do you grow in true contentment?
Reflection: Paul said, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Wait, what? For most of us, contentment is dependent upon our circumstances, so how is it possible to be content whatever the circumstances? The answer: Only in Christ.
Contentment means to be satisfied with what one has and free from the need of external aid or circumstances. Paul is saying that, no matter what his circumstances or situation, he is a soul at rest. He is not a victim or a helpless bystander. He has learned to live his life, rather than allowing his life to live him.
And he says he has learned to be content. It was not something that came naturally. The word for learned in the Greek is manthanō. It means to direct the mind in such a way that it produces a desired result. Thus, contentment is a discipline, it is something that is learned through practice and experience. In other words, Paul had to train himself to be content, through consistently choosing to be content, in Christ, through any and every circumstance.
We would be wise to follow his lead. For we do not have to allow our circumstances to have free reign over our thoughts and feelings. In fact, if we do that we are in for one hell of a ride. No, we must choose to be content, in Christ, regardless of the circumstances. For only then will we be able to live and love freely, the way God desires us to.
Closing Prayer: Teach me, Lord Jesus, how to be content in you this day. For I cannot do it on my own. Amen.