But godliness with contentment is great gain”(1 Tim.6:6). As humans our needs are insatiable and we often confuse what we want for what we need and that makes it more difficult to be contented with what we have. Heb. 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will i leave you; never will i forsake you.’
The desire to have the best of anything will always be a part of man but how we control this desire shows our level of self discipline. Believe me i am not writing this because i am in need, for i have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and i know what it is to have plenty as well. Over the years i have learned that the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want is to have a grateful and thankful heart. ” Colossians 3:15 (KJV) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” “I know i can do all things through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13).
Christians (I inclusive) spend their lives in the prison of discontentment because they refuse to learn the lesson of satisfaction where they are and this is really sad. “A little more can hurt nobody” they fondly say but then the aftermath of a little more has never had a happy ending if we are being honest with ourselves. Some even go to the extent of borrowing just to live up to a standard, belong, feel among, and satisfy their desires regardless of the consequences. ” Proverbs 22:7 (KJV) The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Remaining cheerfully serene in the face of unpleasant circumstances is possible only through developing the art of “thanksgiving living.” Thanking God for your present address and status in life is the first giant step toward learning to be content. Having all the money, luxury, fancy clothes and cars, can not make you content if you don’t know how to appreciate things or be grateful.
Your present circumstances may not be all rosy, but they are your training ground. I know it’s not easy to ask a hungry man to be content when he barely has anything to eat and there is an opportunity for him to rob and not get caught. Most people want to change their circumstances as a means to achieving peace but on the contrary this is not tenable.
The young man who popularised contentment “whatever the circumstances” and “in every situation” was the church’s most celebrated jailbird Paul. Paul had been imprisoned many times for faithfully preaching the gospel. Instead of him gripping and groaning, he said he had learned “how to be content. How? By practising the art of praise in a situation that would naturally breed complaints. Our modern jails are luxurious palaces by comparison with the Ma-mertine prison in Rome where Paul was incarcerated. I’m pretty sure it had no doors, lights, or comfort of any sort rather it was cold, a damp cave with opening at the roof top. Despite all these Paul learned to be content. Our saviour Jesus Christ is another wonderful example of one who was content with what his father gave to him. He accepted and acknowledged himself as the son of a carpenter, didn’t have the best of what the Jews had at the time but he was contented. He didn’t ask for too much yet willingly gave up all he had so you and i can be saved and have the best.
Your prison may be an overcrowded apartment with more children than bedrooms, an office without windows, a car that barely runs, or a job well beneath your ability and income needs. It may even be an unhappy marriage or overly possessive parents. Whatever the privation or predicament, the question is have you learned to be content?