True, lasting contentment is something every person on the planet longs for (but most look for in all the wrong places). If you are currently a follower of Christ you probably already know that the Bible teaches that true contentment can only be found in Jesus. Yet if we are honest many Christian men struggle with discontentment on a regular basis – so clearly many of us have a lot more to learn about this subject!
The following article from Cameron Buettel from GTY.org sheds some light on what the Bible really says about contentment, and how we can make contentment a reality for ourselves and our families. Enjoy!
– Kent Eimers
by Cameron Buettel
Full article available at GTY.org by clicking here
Contentment is elusive in this fallen world. People move through life full of regret of the past, anxiety about the future, and dissatisfaction with the present.
Frankly, that’s understandable. Life rarely plays out in alignment with our desires. Or as one “philosopher” from the sixties put it: “You can’t always get what you want.” Yet being unsatisfied with our past or present circumstances is only part of what causes the common lack in contentment.
Pessimism about the future also plays a needed role in our restless discontentment. Seemingly endless wars, spiraling debt, circusy elections, and moral anarchy all conspire together to stamp out any hope for the future. Closer to home the outlook isn’t better: family dysfunction, sickness, aging, and financial concerns constantly threaten to undermine any remaining contentedness in our households.
On top of all that, an unbelieving world searches for contentment in places where it can never be found. Wealth, power, prestige, and temporal pleasure all hold a strong allure, but they only cultivate our thirst for more. They end up becoming the source of more dissatisfaction rather than the solution to it.
The only true contentment comes from living life in reconciled harmony with the sovereign, unchanging God of the universe. It’s why the apostle Paul instructed the church at Philippi to,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7)
In that same chapter, Paul goes on to say that “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11). That’s not to say that Paul had found a state of being that was free from suffering, disasters, or opposition. Rather, he was able to embrace all hardships as essential components of God’s sovereign plan. The contentment (autarkēs in the Greek) he describes transcends all of those things. His union with Christ brought with it a profound sense of satisfaction and independence from worldly distractions. And that was because Paul’s dependence and sufficiency were found in Christ: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
John MacArthur elaborates further:
Paul was saying, “I have learned to be sufficient in myself—yet not in myself as myself, but as indwelt by Christ.” He elsewhere expressed that subtle distinction: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). Christ and contentment go together.  John MacArthur, Anxious for Nothing (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2006) 129.
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