A Captive Defines Contentment
The apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.” I’ll be honest, at first glance, it appears that he must have been a pre-incarnate version of Superman, since it doesn’t seem likely that a man could find any kind of happiness in a jail cell, let alone true contentment.
The fact of the matter is that Paul was content, and God desires us to experience the same joy. However, is it really possible to find contentment in today’s world?
“I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.” - Paul, while in prison
What is Contentment?
The root of the word contentment comes from the idea of being satisfied. In 2 Corinthians 9:8 “sufficiency” indicates that God himself is the giver of satisfaction. He is the one who provides “sufficiency in all things.” This idea stands in direct opposition to today’s worldly philosophy, which falsely defines satisfaction as having everything that you want.
Jeremiah Burroughs, a Puritan pastor from the 1600s, defined contentment as “that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”
Paul certainly could not boast of worldly comfort or convenience, but he did experience a sweet, intimate communion with the Lord. This divine relationship resulted in an understanding of God’s ways and an acknowledgment of his wisdom. Consequently, even in a prison cell Paul experienced great joy. His circumstances did not dictate his level of contentment, but rather his relationship with the one in whose hands his circumstances rested.
Why Should I be Content?
The son of God, Jesus Christ, stated that he would “never leave or forsake” his followers. These days it can be difficult at times to see the hand of God in daily life, but the truth is that he is there in and among us, performing the will of the father in our lives. It is because of our Lord’s constant presence that we can achieve daily contentment. Whatever the circumstances, Christ is with us and for us, and he is enough.
In future installments we will focus on a greater understanding of the concept of contentment. What does it truly mean, and how can its application impact the life of the Believer?
Click here to read the next article in the series.