Wouldn’t life be better if you were permanently content? Do you wish to live a life of contentment? If you answered yes to those two questions, then I have good news for you. A life of contentment was provided for you at the Cross of Jesus Christ. There is a way to be permanently content…
Paul said, in 1 Timothy 6:6, that “godliness with contentment is great gain”. So, what is contentment exactly? The Greek word translated contentment here means a perfect condition of life in which no aid or support is needed. The dictionary defines contentment as a mental or emotional state of satisfaction or happiness and ease of mind.
Paul went on to say, in 1 Timothy 6:8, “And having food and clothing let us be therewith content.” The Greek word translated content here means to be possessed of unfailing strength and to ward off and defend through the idea of raising a barrier.
Contentment is a state of care-free satisfaction and ease of mind. To be content is to possess unfailing strength. Contentment raises a barrier, defending you against all the attack of the devil. It enables you to ward off these attacks.
Discontentment lowers our barriers of defence. It leaves us open to attack. It inhibits us from warding off the attacks of the enemy. To be discontent is to possess weakness.
Think about it, if you are discontent, then you spend all your time thinking about yourself and your needs. Your energy is spent trying to meet your perceived needs. That is a dangerous and vulnerable place to be in.
But if you are content, then you are free to spend all your time thinking about others and their needs. Your energy can be used to meet the needs of others. And remember, God supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
So how do we avoid discontentment and attain contentment? Paul again said, in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Notice that contentment is learned. A different Greek word for content was used here. This one can mean independent of external circumstances. The first key to contentment is to learn to be independent of external circumstances.
Contentment is all about the inside, not the outside. It is possible to be perfectly content inside while all hell is breaking loose outside. But it is also possible for everything to be perfect on the outside and to still be discontent on the inside.
It is a matter of the heart. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23 AMP). We need to train our hearts to only respond to the Spirit of God, not our external circumstances.
Contentment comes from walking after the spirit, instead of the flesh. It is the by-product of living by faith, not by sight. When you walk after the spirit and live by faith you become independent of external circumstances. We are to not to look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen. Because the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
1 Peter 1:8 says: “Though you do not now see Him [Jesus], you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”. Rejoicing with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory sounds like contentment to me!
There will be another key to contentment in part 2…