For those of us with kids, especially small ones, we KNOW that contentment is not a behavior that we are born with.
In fact, it is nearly the exact opposite. When babies are hungry they receive food by “voicing their displeasure” to their mothers and sometimes the entire house! They are relentless, they will persist in their vocal outcry until their needs are met. They use displeasure to survive. No one would chastise a newborn for this type of behavior. The problem is, that many adults, and even Christians who have been saved for a long time still use this tactic as a way of living.
No Longer Babes
We don’t cry, or moan incessantly, or throw up our arms and flail our limbs around uncontrollably like a child would, but we find other ways to express our dissatisfaction. Unlike the small child who is dependent upon his parents for help, an adult is the means to end his own dissatisfaction.
Compounding the problem is the world operates on creating dissatisfaction in people. This point hardly needs to be made. Virtually all media is used this way.
The Big Question…
This begs the question, “What is the cure for a people who exist is a nearly perpetual state of dissatisfaction?”
Paul pens an amazing statement in Philippians 4, he says, “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” This learning objective, is lost on many and its absence has allowed many hearts to grow dull and the cares of this life to grow and choke our faith.
Paul says that he learned to be content and he gives us three ingredients in the verses leading up to his grand announcement of how to get there.
- Be anxious for nothing (Phil 4:6) Don’t let your mind be so consumed with something that it troubles and creates a burden you cannot carry. Instead, pray. This shows that you have a Heavenly Father who you know is eager to take care of you.
2. Deliberate Thinking (Phil 4:8) We can choose what we think about. In this verse, Paul admonishes us to deliberately think on the pure, lovely and the beautiful. How could we not be content doing this?
3. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Phil 4:4) Combining the prior two ingredients will of course overflow in our joy in God. Prayer and deliberate thinking about God (who is pure, lovely, and beautiful) unleashes joy, the true source of our lasting contentment.
So pray, think about God and rejoice in Him. I pray that in doing so you will learn to be content just as the Apostle did.