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Generally speaking, to be content means to be satisfied. So, when we talk about having contentment in Christ, we are talking about being satisfied in Christ.
Some of you may be of the view that contentment in Christ is incidental to being a Christian. But the truth is that not everybody who is a Christian has arrived at a sense of contentment in Christ.
Moreover, some believers, through no fault of their own have been dealt a tougher road to travel than the average believer; and that can make it more of a challenge for them to realize a sense of contentment in Christ.
In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul talks about how he achieved contentment in Christ. Let’s see what we can learn from this model Christian on the subject of Christian contentment.
Three Characteristics of Contentment in Christ
What does contentment in Christ entail? Here are three characteristics that I have drawn from Paul’s epistle:
1. Contentment in Christ is a learning process. Paul writes, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11, KJV).
In the previous verse, Paul rejoiced for the people’s financial support. But in this verse, he is saying, let me make myself clear. I am not speaking as a person who stands in need of your support because I have learned something that has been life-changing. I have learned how to be content in whatever state I am in. Think about how powerful that statement is. Having contentment in Christ is not incidental to being born again. Rather, it is a learning process. Paul says I have learned how to be content. That is a learning process we must undergo as well.
2. Contentment in Christ is not a function of your circumstances. If you only feel a sense of contentment as a Christian when life is good for you, you have not arrived at true contentment. God has not promised any of us a life that’s all good and nothing trying. In the next verse, Paul expands on what he means by having learned to be content:
“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (verse 12, NASB).
In other words, Paul says here I know how to be/remain content in Christ no matter what stage of life I find myself in.
3. Contentment IN Christ is only possible THROUGH Christ. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Paul writes (verse 13, KJV). Now let’s talk about the proper context of this popular verse. Some Christians use this verse as the basis for saying, I can do all things through Christ as if all things refer to anything imaginable or anything they want to do.
But really this verse expands on the previous verse. You see, in the previous verse Paul refers to a number of phases in life he found himself in—being humbled; being exalted; being filled, being hungry; being in abundance, suffering need. Now in verse 13, he is saying not only can I do those things but whatever life brings me, I can do it all through Christ who is the source of my strength.
God has not called any of us to do “all things.” Rather, He has called each of us according to His purpose and grace “which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9, KJV). But we can do all things God has called us to do. This is possible because Christ is the source of our strength–in all things.
What is your assessment of yourself on this matter?
Copyright © 2021 by Frank King. All rights reserved.