A Secret To Be Learned
By Dot Bowen
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11 (NIV)
It seems there is so much pressure on everyone to do more and be more. For months, I worked to organize my clothes closet, and I believe it is as organized as it is going to be. Yet, I keep thinking I could organize it better. I find myself noticing every unorganized area in my home and struggle with inwardly hating those who appear creative and organized on Pinterest. Is it possible to ever feel content and satisfied with what we have accomplished? Why is it I keep feeling pressure to do more in life? Does feeling contented or satisfied with who we are and what we do even exist? I find myself stuck between the pressure being content versus working harder and doing more to be content. I believe being satisfied and content is humanly impossible without Christ!
The Apostle Paul knew the secret of being content. In his letter to the church in Philippi, he thanked them for their generous financial support and told them he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances he found himself. Oh, how I wish I could have a conversation with Paul about this very topic! Do you think Paul found contentment in jail because he no longer had worry about being flogged in the street? Or when Paul found himself shipwrecked, did he view it as another opportunity to take a break from preaching? Is the secret to contentment to simple choose a positive attitude in the midst of difficulties? I believe the secret of contentment goes far beyond a positive attitude in the midst of our circumstances and accomplishments. Paul’s emphasis is on Christ, not on himself. Paul never denied his needs. and he also acknowledged when he had plenty. Paul often wrote about accomplishments as a Jew. But Paul discovered his contentment came in knowing Christ rather than his personal accomplishments. As a matter of fact, Paul said everything he had—power, prestige, and even his obedience—seemed worthless compared to knowing Christ.
We all live for something. How can we live in such a way that our primary desire in life is to know Christ? Based on the little I know of Scripture, the secret to living a satisfied life is to know why you are living. As children of Christ, we are to live to bring Him glory. When we stop trying to prove our worth and begin to find our value in Christ, we live satisfied in Him. The world tells us what we do, what we have, or who we know bring contentment to life. Therefore, many believe we must do more, know more, and push our way into the lives of people who make us feel important. Paul had already been there and done that! Later in his own life, he realized his contentment came only in knowing Christ and rather than his possessions, accomplishments, or relationships.
After Paul met Jesus Christ, his focus went from doing for his own sake to knowing Christ. If you struggle with discontentment, you can never do or be enough. Find your contentment in knowing Christ. Paul said it this way, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:7-8, ESV) Thanks, Paul, for helping us find the secret to contentment!
Further Reading Philippians 3:7-8; Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Ephesians 3:19