Philippians Part 10 - Sweet Contentment
How are you today? Good…fine…peachy…I’m decent man…I’m okay…
Are you living the dream…is it -no worries man…or I’m grovin’
Maybe you would answer the question, ‘how are you’ by saying
Everything is cool or I’m movin’ and shakin’.
Many people, maybe you, answer this question, ‘how are you, how you doing?’ with a partial truth, you’ll say GOOD, but your answer isn’t the whole story. There is something going on inside you or around you or to you that is not being said.
-some unsettling circumstance or some unreached desire is affecting your peace, your contentment isn’t there, but you still answer, ‘I’m doing fine.’
If the truth be told, you might admit I’m not very happy, I’m not totally at peace, I’m not content with my life. In many ways we need to guard against hiding behind the fabricated wall of a counterfeit “I’m good” when the truth is I’m not very happy, I’m not at peace inside and I’m not very contented.
Contentment is a big part of peace in your life, it isn’t everything but contentment is a huge part of it.
Contentment. Am I content? Are you content?
Where are you on the contentment scale in your life? 20% content, 50% content, 75% content? Do you have 100% contentment in your life?
-let’s say you answered I’m 75% content, I want to talk to you today about the other 25% you’re not content with and hopefully encourage you to reach 100% contentment. You may not be expecting what I am about to say but I believe it’s from God’s Word.
- What is one thing separating you from being content? Name it, you most likely know exactly what it is.
How would you fill in the blank: “I will be content when __________?”
When I feel better. When I am promoted, get more money. When I am married. When I get _____ something. When I can rest. When my children ________ etc…. How would you fill in the blank?
Our text today is from Philippians 4:10-13 and see how Paul deals with contentment.
‘10 I am very happy in the Lord that you have shown your care for me again. You continued to care about me, but there was no way for you to show it. 11 I am not telling you this because I need anything. I have learned to be satisfied (content) with the things I have and with (content) everything that happens. 12 I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the secret of contentment at any time in everything that happens, when I have enough to eat and when I go hungry, when I have more than I need and when I do not have enough. 13 I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.’
In the world we live in there are many people who are discontented with some aspect of their lives, and they constantly look for more. Our world seems to contain far more people who are discontent than those who are content.
The contentment Paul speaks of in Philippians is the realization of Psalm 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”
Contentment is by-product of your attitude and your thoughts.
-if your attitude & thinking is always striving to make more money, you will never be content with what you have and the financial situation you’re in?
Rockefeller, one of the richest men in the world, was once asked ‘how much money is enough?’ (how much money will make you content). He answered $1 more.
-if your attitude & thinking is ‘if I could only have a nicer home, I’d be happy (happy and content -same meaning here). If I could only go on a nice vacation, I’d be happier -denoting some discontentment with your current situation.
Wishing for more or better possessions or more leisure is like the country dog who chased cars on the gravel road all day long. The dog was driven to ‘get’ the car. One day the driver stopped and said to the dog –‘there you got me -are you happy now?’ Nay, nay, the dog wasn’t content or satisfied because the next day he was chasing the cars again hoping to ‘get’ one.
-possessions, like money, can never fill the need or make you content. It’s a lie that things can satisfy and make you content. Contentment is based on our attitude and our focus.
-if your attitude & your thinking, focuses on people, like if my husband was better, I’d be happier, then I would be satisfied, and content. If my children, If my parents, if I had a good friend. If all the people would just help me and bless me then I would show you contentment in spades.
No, that won’t make you content because people are people and people disappoint at times. Even you as a person disappoint yourself.
How can I have contentment in that 25% of my life that is unpeaceful?
The right Attitude and right thinking,
-like Paul said –‘I have learned’. Yes, you can learn contentment!
An attitude of humility, humble thinking about yourself.
-Think and know -I am unworthy of a God full of grace towards me.
Genuine contentment is first shown by a recognition of our unworthiness of God’s abundant grace and mercy. You didn’t earn God’s favour, you don’t merit God’s blessing and you certainly can’t buy God’s goodness to you. It comes to us from His graciousness, from His gracious hand.
Jacob learned this truth when he told the Lord in Genesis 32:10: “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant;”
-do not be demanding, I deserve more/better, I’m entitled No, No.
Have an attitude of humility, in your mind be humble, think -I’m not entitled but I have it, -God’s wonderful grace upon me, freely bestowed by God to me. All that you receive has been GIVEN to you therefore be humble.
Have an attitude/thinking of have absolute trust in a sovereign God.
All your needs God will provide, All your needs à trust fully in God.
Habakkuk 3:17-19: “Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”
Trust God fully for today, tomorrow and all your life.
#3 your attitude, your thinking, your faith
Have faith in your God who will sustain you. God cares for you.
Genuine contentment comes from a recognition of God’s care.
Learning this truth, the Psalmist says (145:14-20), “The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. The Lord keeps all who love Him,...”
Likewise, the Apostle Peter in the New Testament writes of God’s care: “casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you (1 Pet 5:7).
-God knows what you need to sustain you, trust Him, have faith in a God who will sustain you.
-whatever your circumstance look up and have faith.
Trust your God to provide exactly what you need.
Don’t expect God to supply your ‘wants’ but He will fulfill each and every one of your needs fully. Be content in that. Subject your wants to God’s will.
It was the Apostle Paul who said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” whether Paul had lot’s of food or little food Christ would strengthen him in all things and at all times. Be content, God will strengthen you.
And Paul continues in Philippians 4:19: “… my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
(This topic is for next Sunday, “Well taken Care of.”)
Real, deep-down, genuine contentment comes from an unshakeable trust in God’s provision because God is always near to you.
Hebrews 13:5: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
CONTENTMENT RESTS IN A PERSON NOT ON POSSESSIONS, REPUTATION OR WORDLY RELATIONSHIPS. AND THAT PERSON IS JESUS CHRIST. ‘I can do all things through Christ.’
Trust Christ to know, to care,
and to provide all your needs. Have absolute faith in a providing God. When discontentment creeps in immediately look up and trust.
Note: The Bible encourages hard work and the rewards that come from it, as long as we are free from greed.
Our contentment should come from having our focus on God.
So, having said all that I ask you this question. That area of discontentment in your life, will you surrender that to God? Today!
Surrender it, turn it over to God, have faith in God, trust God. Surrender leads to contentment and peace.
Riverside Nov 5, 2023