God is the Secret to Contentment

Key Vere to Read and Treasure

For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need—Philippians 4:11-12 (ESV)

For Insight

There are sufferings and trials we move through with considerable ease. They are a momentary or fleeting condition or situations, where it seems they are over as quickly as they enter. They do not require anything particularly special of us. No laboring in prayer or need for fasting. No need to pull on our “go-to” Bible passages that pick us up and help us endure. They seem to solve themselves over a brief period.

Then, there are sufferings and trials which take everything we can garner to survive. We are praying, fasting, watching, pacing, anguishing, sweating holy bullets. Doing our best to trust God is at work in our (or another’s) situation to bring about his promised good for those who love and trust him (Rom 8:28). These are the places we need to draw on the promises of God and pray (mightily) for patience.

Paul suggests something else we should do whenever we are experiencing trials and suffering. Whenever we are brought low or experiencing lack. He says we should learn to cultivate an attitude of contentment. Paul’s counsel seems counterintuitive to what we have learned and feel. When we are suffering the last emotion we feel, or, are moved to do is cultivate contentment.  

To be content means to be in a state of happiness and satisfaction; the quality or state of being contented. Yet, who can be content with sickness? Terminal illness? Grief? Marriage trouble? Rebellious children? Poverty of supplies or earthly provision? The secret to Paul’s contentment—which is our secret also was God. his contentment rested in knowing the character of God, the nature of God, the history he had, and we now have, with God. The covenant God has with us. The eternal, inexhaustible promises of God. All these become our foundation and peace for being content no matter what our circumstances.  

Life Lesson

Like Paul, during difficult times—extended or brief—we can be content knowing we do not have to rely upon our own power or strength. Knowing we can endure as long as we need to, because we know God is not only working things out for us but giving us strength to work things out through him.


Jesus, help me cultivate an attitude of contentment during difficult times. It worked for Paul and countless others. It worked for you when you were suffering so I know it is guaranteed to work for me also. Amen

Digging Deeper

Read Philippians 4:10-20

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