Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Are you content? Before you answer, think about your understanding of the meaning of contentment. Many of us are confused about what it is. I have known some people who are afraid to admit they are content because of other people’s misunderstanding of it. Paul explains it to us very clearly in the last fourteen verses of Philippians. There are three words in our verse today that I want to draw your attention to before we get into the devotion. They are as follows: want, learned, and content. Want means to be behind, a deficiency. Learned lets us know that contentment does not come naturally. We have to be taught how to be content. Content means to be self sufficient. In the context of the end of this letter, Paul explains to all of us that our sufficiency is in Christ. Because of Christ, we can be content no matter what situation we find ourselves in. Consider these three things that contentment is not.
- Contentment is not Complacency, it is, however, Christ focused.
Spiritually, we must always desire to be closer to God, to be used by Him daily, and to be constantly aware of His guidance. In those areas of our lives, we cannot become complacent. Contentment does not infringe upon those principles. Paul says this, “I have all and abound: I am full…” Paul wrote these words from prison. He was expressing an understanding that was also an emotion. Christ is all I need.
- Contentment is not Competition, it is, however, Christ focused.
All of us have been associated with that person who can never be happy and cheer for someone else’s accomplishments. Remember the definition of want. You are a child of God. Because of that fact, you are never behind or deficient to anyone. Life is not a competition. Do you have to be the smartest? Do your kids have to be better than all the others? Do you have to be the richest? Do you have to possess the best of everything and anything? Do you have to be noticed and acknowledged for all that you do? If your honest answer to any of these questions is, “Yes”, then you are not content. Can you truly be happy and applaud someone else’s achievement, prosperity, or joy? Yes? Then you have contentment. God is your Father, you are blessed. Christ is my fulfillment.
- Contentment is not a Comparison, it is, however, Christ focused.
In II Corinthians 10:12, Paul gives us a warning about comparing ourselves with each other. In fact, he says that it is not wise. If we do it, it is clear that we are not content. You will always find two types of people wherever you are. There are those who are better than you, and there those that you are better than. Who cares? There is only one comparison to you and to me. That person is Christ. Compared to Him, we all fall short. Don’t worry about your brother. Don’t worry about your sister. Focus on yourself and your relationship with God. Christ is my standard.
In closing, please read Hebrews 13:5. As Christians, covetousness should not be in our lives at all. Contentment should be, though. We must learn how to be content. We learn by focusing on Christ. After all, He told us that He will never leave us or forsake us.