Merriam-Webster defines content simply as “satisfied“. While the apostle Paul was imprisoned, he wrote a series of letters to other believers. Many of his letters contained directives on how to live a life that is pleasing to God. Yes, even Christians need to be reminded to exhibit Christ-like behaviors. In one prison stint, Paul wrote to the members of the church in Phillipi about contentment with one’s circumstances.
11 for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:11-13
Put yourself in Paul’s shoes for just a moment. If you were imprisoned, particularly during the era of imprisonment without television, radio, three meals/day, and access to showers and exercise equipment such as what is available in modern prisons, would you have the same attitude as Paul? Would you be content about being beaten? Would you be joyful regardless of your circumstances while still giving praise to God?
Now, think about your current circumstances. Are you joyful about your relationships – even hopeful about ones that seem shattered? Do you praise God for the shelter and food available to you? What about gratefulness for access to the Internet on which you’re reading this blog? Are you grateful for these things? Are you content with what you already have and for who you are, or do you wish you were someone else, with other talents, in a different body, with a more superior mind?
Let us not confuse contentment with a lack of motivation, but even more, don’t be overly eager to block the blessings of God, because His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
So, I ask again: Are you content? Let’s discuss!
Love to all!
This discussion was inspired by the topic discussed on my Sunday school class this morning.