There is one simple phrase that left a profound impact on me.
“Let the goodness of the Lord be the measure of your contentment”
As believers walk in faith, we find ourselves facing a shift in what we see true contentment to be. Humans are inclined to define contentment as having that which is needed to feel comfortable and happy. We all yearn for a life that fills us, and we strive to create that life by creating our own definition of contentment. This often leaves us in a place of loss, as we endlessly seek contentment that is easily disrupted by the loss of physical things or the ever-increasing yearning to have and to be more.
The Lord knows our desire for contentment, as He is the one who gave us that very desire. In this, He has not left us without the means for fulfillment in a lasting and unwavering way.
Biblical Contentment Is Not Situational
The Apostle Paul gave us profound insight into His understanding of true contentment in his letter to the Philippian church.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me”Philippians 4.11-13
Paul was one who knew suffering. He lived a life that was abundant with trials, one that many would do everything in their power to avoid. Yet, within this suffering, Paul reveals the secret to contentment. True, lasting contentment is not situational. It is something that is not rooted in abundance or need, plenty or lack. Rather, true contentment is found in the knowledge of God’s absolute goodness and power working in and through us. With this understanding, we can endure through the trial and rejoice through the suffering because we know that no matter what Christ’s power will be our strength.
As those who have fellowship with Christ, we can rest in this knowledge. Though it may be easy to feel as if our contentment is determined by circumstance, we know that our unity with Jesus is not. By His graces, we have an unwavering peace with our Creator, Redeemer, and Lord. Even if all else has fallen away, His love for us remains. In this alone, we can find absolute contentment just as Paul did.
Biblical Contentment Is Trust
To experience the contentment of Christ, one must be able to trust in the eternal goodness of God that is for them. This goodness is not determined by us, but by an eternally faithful God. Colossians chapter 3 tells believers to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is…” and to “set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (3.1-2). Our trust in the goodness of God as the sufficient measure of our contentment comes from our minds and hearts being set on Him. As we seek the Lord and that which is of Him, we find that knowing Him and being in His love is our sufficiency. Our human emotions may change within seasons and even days; our eternal contentment does not.
There is so much we do not know and cannot comprehend about the world and our human condition, but we can entrust ourselves to a faithful God who does know. To be able to rest in His wisdom and strength rather than our own brings deep and lasting contentment. To do this, we must know His Word and cling to His promises. We cannot trust in that which we do not know, and we cannot know that which we do not seek after. To know the Word and promises of God along with His absolute faithfulness is to have all access to an eternal perspective. This perspective roots us in deep satisfaction that is not shaken by the things of the world.
Biblical Contentment Is Understanding
One of the most challenging concepts is that true contentment comes from a sober understanding of one’s sinful and broken condition. Throughout Jesus’s ministry on earth, this was a truth He relentlessly taught by declaring “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 5.3).
The greatest problem humans face is sin. The Bible teaches that the wage of our sin is death, meaning eternal separation from a God so holy and perfect that He cannot abide with the sin within us that opposes Him. We have a depth of brokenness that no man can heal on their own.
But God, abundant in mercy created a solution for our deepest need. By the salvation offered to us through the Cross, we have been reconciled to God. Romans 5.1 tells us, “Therefore because we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This knowledge of both our sin and God’s salvation leads us into the brokenness Christ calls blessed. Because we know our deep need for salvation beyond ourselves, and we know God’s eternal solution for that need, we may be entirely content. To those who have given their lives to Christ, theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
When we are struggling with contentment, we can choose to see what we have in Christ that we are not deserving of. Our sober understanding of sin allows us to be deeply impacted by the knowledge that we are given the imperishable inheritance of peace with God and dwelling in His Kingdom. When we pursue contentment in Christ, we find the fullness of His mercy in a million little ways each day.
To know lasting contentment, one must be rooted in the Word and promises of God. At Ethnos Bible Institute, we study Scripture so that we can learn to apply it to every aspect of our lives. Want to learn more about our program? Request your free information packet here.