There is a way we can learn to be content no matter the circumstances. For a long time in my life I was depressed, I guess you could say. On the outside it may have appeared to others I was having a great time but in reality it was a show. I attempted to numb myself with drug and drink in hopes that I could find relief from life itself. It all seemed to be so disappointing; a chasing after the wind if you will.
Even after being born again and knowing Christ had taken up residence within my spirit I had times when I thought “Is this all there is?” There is never a shortage of things or events to give us reason to complain or long for something else from life. For instance most people I know are looking for better employment either wanting more pay or maybe just to find purpose in their day to day lives.
My own experience as of late had been an increasing frustration with the day in day out routine I was in. Thank God his Holy Spirit is on the job! God has a way of showing us things if we continue to seek them out and don’t give up. Amazingly my circumstances and routine haven’t changed and yet my contentment level has.
Some people are looking for money, purpose or fulfillment, but I think what they are really seeking is contentment. It is just that everyone has a different idea about where contentment comes from. Some will say, “If I just had a little more money I could be content.” Others might say, “If I could live closer to the beach I would enjoy life more.” We have to learn that these things bring only temporary fulfillment but there is a way I have found to the longer lasting kind.
The Apostle Paul wrote in the 4th chapter of the letter to the Philippians he had learned the secret of contentment. Throughout his life and journey’s he had experienced having abundance and having nothing, but he discovered contentment in spite of them both. As many times as I have read or thought about this passage of scripture it is only today I have really seen it. You know it is possible to know something and yet not really KNOOOW it. Paul wrote “For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things though Him (Christ) who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NASB) Did you catch that? The secret is discovering where your strength truly comes from. It isn’t in the riches or abundance of things, it is in Christ himself. If we could learn our true, deep down, inner strength comes from being joined to Christ we would gain real lasting contentment no matter what our circumstances. It is only after looking for these other things, such as money or the perfect work or living environment, to bring us strength that we become discontented enough to search elsewhere.
When we learn to keep our focus on our real life source we will prosper and bear fruit even in the dry times. As the Psalmist says, “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3 NASB)
Written by Louie