The Secret of Contentment

Philippians 4:10-13 “I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, 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 everything through him who gives me strength.” There are some who mistakenly think that the apostle supported himself entirely in his ministry by making tents. We do know that on occasion that was true, but not always. On many occasions he received help from the other churches that God had started through Paul’s ministry. As I said a moment ago, God’s work is to be furthered and funded by God’s people. Here is one instance of just such a church that had helped him along the way, the church at Philippi. There are three things about his statement I would like especially to look at this morning. Contentment is a learned attitude. We are not born content. Our natural spirit is to strive to get more, keep looking for something new to titillate our senses and satisfy, at least temporarily, our desires. We are always striving for something. Paul had not always known what it meant to be content. He had been reared in the lap of luxury, and had never known want as a young man. 1 I think what the apostle is saying to us here is that he had learned the source of real contentment and what it really meant to be content. Contentment is defined as, “a state of feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation (Dictionary.com). It’s interesting: The word “content” in the text actually means to be independent from circumstances.
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