Webster defines contentment as satisfied, willing. In our world today, we have many people who are not satisfied. There are some who always want something bigger or better. When they achieve it, they are not content any longer, but have to have more. Our world has convinced us bigger is better, more is the goal, and so, we buy into this and want more and more.
Paul stated, "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of abundance and suffering need." (Philippians 4:11,12) Paul tells us being content is important. He had learned this lesson. Have we?
This chapter of Philippians deals with being joyful, of rejoicing. Paul never let his circumstances determine how happy he was. Some today bemoan their bad fortune and complain about what they do not have. They have allowed the circumstances of life to determine their happiness. Now, I know some things in life are hardships for us. Everything is not simple. But do we allow those circumstances to define us or do we rise above them and "keep on keepin’ on"?
At the same time, we need to be careful that we are not content with some things. Perhaps we are happy with our spiritual progress. Maybe we aren’t reading the word or praying as we should. If not, don’t be content with that but do something about it. If we are missing services of the church, we must not be content. We need to make every effort to grow to be like Jesus.
We see then that there are times when we need to be content and times we need to move forward. Paul would go on to say, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13) Paul recognized it was not by his own power and might but with God’s help he could accomplish what he desired. In the end, isn’t that the most important thing? With God by our side, we will be satisfied with what we have. When our eyes are taken off Him, we will seek other sources.
So, are you content in your circumstances? Are you content in your spiritual growth? Jesus will help you with both.