“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content”
– Philippians 4:11
Let me ask you a simple but profound question, “Are you content?” I saw a “Zen” based article on the Internet that suggested contentedness can be found by catching yourself thinking “life sucks,” and stopping such thinking. It continued that contentment is found by cultivating a thankfulness for “little things and simples joys,” by focusing on “things about yourself that you’re happy with,” and that we should “assume that you, others, and life are perfect.”  I don’t know about you, but I learned early in life not to assume anything. But this “Zen” article points people to self as a source of contentment. There’s a lot of gobbledygook New Agey stuff out there that points people to look within or look at self for contentment. But I believe true contentment comes from going in the exact opposite direction from self.
Another article said happiness is the ultimate consumer product. Companies sell happiness. People spend big on what they think will make them happy.  Happiness is a close relative of contentment. An old 2004 Gallup Poll study on personal contentment showed that people most often find contentment in family and friends, health, where they live, religion, romance, personal growth, career, recreation and last on the list, money. 
Is it even possible to be content? I mean, if that Gallup Poll is right, our contentment can be shaken if our family or friendships break, our health deteriorates, we have to move, religion runs down (e.g. church scandals), a romance breaks off, we don’t grow forward but slide backward, our career collapses, we can’t find time to enjoy recreation, or our money runs out. All of those things are common and maybe that’s why there’s so little contentment going around.
I’m sure we could come up with a lot of other variables that impact the likelihood of us being content. Things like age and ability, all sorts of things can impact our contentment. But what if I told you there was a contentment you could always have regardless of these factors I just stated? It’s true you know, there is a contentment that can be experienced and held onto. I want to speak to you about the contentment that comes in a saving relationship with Christ.
Even if you already know Jesus as Savior, I want to share with you about contentment. Because even Christians miss out on contentment. There are Christians who are anything but content. Some Christians are miserable people who complain their life away. So, what is the secret, the solution to true contentment? Let’s see.
First, contentment precedes commissioning. When I speak of commissioning, I’m speaking of purpose in life, of God’s will in our lives, of meaning and mission. We are all called by Jesus to fulfill the Great Commission to reach the world for Christ and teach them to obey the words of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). But then there is the Lord’s individual commissioning of people for tasks and life purposes that are parts of God’s overall plans. Contentment is a necessary but often forgotten prerequisite to hearing from God and receiving His instructions.
When we aren’t content in God’s provisions and the circumstances, He in His sovereign determination has providentially placed us in, it creates static in the channel He uses to try to get through to us. Discontentment diverts our attention to things that are not God’s priority. Discontentment distracts us from God’s purposes for us. When we aren’t content, when we are consumed with getting somewhere we aren’t, or getting something we don’t have, it complicates our lives to the point where God and His purposes are crowded out.
The first mention of the word “content” in scripture comes during the time of Moses. Early in Moses life God’s hand of providence was upon him. Moses was providentially spared from Pharaoh’s dastardly ordered destruction of the sons of Israel. God providentially worked in Moses life to save him and keep him in his early formative years with his own family. God providentially arranged to place Moses in the privileged palace of Pharaoh’s daughter where he no doubt received topnotch education and other good amenities.
But something wasn’t right for Moses. He was discontented. He had a deep patriotic sense of his Hebrew heritage. When as an “Egyptian” of privilege he saw a Hebrew slave being beaten by an Egyptian taskmaster, he violently intervened and murdered the attacker. Now before we think this may have been a righteous act, I point you to the description of this heinous act by Moses. It states, “So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the
Egyptian” which is evidence of premeditation (Exodus 2:12). Then, “he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand” (Exodus 2:12). That he hid the Egyptian in the sand speaks of guilt for the sinful act of premeditated murder. You only cover up what you know is wrong. You only cover up what you don’t want others to see. And this evil action did not advance Moses in his eventual calling as his own brethren rejected his leadership. They called attention to what his murderous act (Exodus 2:13-14). All Moses murder got him was the anger and desire for his arrest by Pharaoh (Exodus 2:15). Moses fled to the wilderness.
God is able to give us beauty for ashes. God is able to take what others intended for evil and use it for good (Genesis 50:20). And even our evil actions don’t deter God’s excellent plans for us. At least that is what we see in Moses.
Because of Moses murderous actions, he lost everything. He lost everything that someone in this world could have hoped to have. But God had bigger plans for him. God’s providence has a way of steering us where He wants us. Such was the case with Moses who God led to a well in the desert of Midian. It was there that Moses came into contact with Reuel, whose name means “friend of God” (Exodus 2:18) also known as Jethro, whose name means “his abundance” (Exodus 3:1). Reuel also just happened to be, “the priest of Midian” who “had seven daughters” (Exodus 2:16). At a well in the wilderness, Moses, in a God-ordained skirmish no doubt, “stood up and helped” these daughters which led to an invitation to their home (Exodus 2:19).
Now at this point in Moses life he apparently still had the marks of an Egyptian on him. That was how the daughters referred to him, as “an Egyptian” (Exodus 2:19). Egypt and things associated with it, in scripture, is a type of the world. Moses still had worldly markings on him. He was seen as a worlding. But now God’s hand would begin to move him away from his worldliness.
It was through this providential meeting that we see the first mention of the word “content.” In response to Reuel’s appreciation it states, “Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses” (Exodus 2:21). The word content here (Hebrew ya’al) means to yield, to please, to assent, take upon, be content. There’s a certain surrender and trust implied here. We can’t say Moses was actually trusting in God specifically here. But that would soon come. Moses was learning a necessary lesson in preparation for God’s call and commission on his life.
Moses didn’t leave Egypt with intentions of returning to conquer it. At least there is no indication of that. He fled until he came to Midian, a distance of about 285 miles from Egypt. 285 miles is a long journey by foot. 285 miles is a long way to go when you’ve lost everything. A journey of 285 miles provides a lot of time to think about life. 285 miles, over rough terrain, in harsh barren conditions, in a wilderness, is what it sometimes takes to drive discontentment out of a man. By the time Moses reached Midian and the home of Reuel, he was ready to be “content” with what God presented to him. Moses was ready to settle in. If this was God’s lot for him, so be it. Moses contentedly agreed to not only stay with Reuel, but he put his roots down by taking Zipporah, Reuel’s daughter, as his bride.
Context in scripture is always important. And it shouldn’t be lost on us that the statement that Moses was “content” comes before God introduces Himself to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3. And it shouldn’t be lost on us that it was just after Moses act of contentedness that God not only reveals Himself to Moses, but calls Moses to his life’s work.
Too often our sense of “calling” from God is nothing more than evidence of discontentment with our life’s circumstances. Too often seeking and claiming God’s “call” on a life is nothing more than a veiled effort to further one’s own will or weasel out of an uncomfortable life situation. People think, “I hate my job. I hate what I’m doing. There must be more to life than this! I know, I’ll go into the ministry.” Ministry and a calling thereof, is not the solution to failure. Oh, we might fail in life. That might be a part of God’s whittling us down to size.
Failures can be used by God to humble us. God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5-6). So humbling is invaluable and necessary in being prepared for God’s use. The truth is, contentment is in fact a byproduct of God’s humbling process in our lives. When we look at Moses, we see a man humbled by God. Ministry and God’s calling come when we humbly learn to trust Him, to accept His provisions, to give Him our dreams, our ambitions, our hopes, our future, our life, everything. Another word for that is contentment.
Second, contentment is not complacency. When God first called Moses at the burning bush Moses was hesitant, resistant to God’s calling. He had settled into the life of a shepherd in the quiet land of Midian. He was set to live his life in this solemn solitude. He had had enough of the city life of Egypt and its noises. But contentment is not to be confused with complacency. God intruded on Moses contentment first by pricking his curiosity with a bush that burned but was not consumed. Once God had his attention, He communicated with him. God told Moses about the plight of His people. God laid out the predicament that displeased Him and that He was going to act to rectify it. Then God commissioned Moses. God told Moses that he was going to be the instrument through whom God would deliver His oppressed people. God reassured Moses that, “I will certainly be with you” (Exodus 3:12). That should have been enough to propel Moses forward, but it wasn’t
Moses hemmed and hawed, he asked for details. He feigned a lack of authority. God gave Him His Name as a reference. God gave Him specific instructions. Lack of facts often lead to fear. So, God gave Moses facts that should have built his faith. God even gave Moses a prophetic word about the initial resistance by Pharaoh but an undeniable eventual victory of God to liberate His people. God even promised they wouldn’t leave emptyhanded; they would leave with a blessed treasure trove of Egyptian booty who in the end, would be all too eager to pay such a ransom to see the Israelites leave (Exodus 3:13-22). That should have been enough for Moses, but it wasn’t.
Moses responded with the age old “what if” scenarios. “What if Your people don’t believe me? What if the Egyptians don’t believe me? What if they doubt what I say about our meeting? What if they don’t believe You have sent me?” (Exodus 4:1). God then gave Moses signs to confirm his calling. God didn’t give Moses only one miraculous sign, not merely two, but three miraculous signs to confirm his calling (Exodus 4:2-9). That should have been enough, but it wasn’t. It takes a lot sometimes to shake someone out of their complacency.
Moses then tried to excuse himself on the basis of his perceived lack of ability. He said, “I am not eloquent, . . . I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Moses was not the first person to excuse themselves from a complacent position because of a perceived slowness of tongue. We say, “But I don’t know what to say to people about Jesus. I get all tongue-twisted when it comes to speaking to others about God.” That’s no excuse to refuse the calling of God. It wasn’t accepted by God in Moses’ case. It isn’t accepted by God in our case. God made our mouth. He knows our speaking capacity before He calls us. “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” God said (Exodus 4:12). But that still wasn’t good enough for Moses. Would it be good enough for you?
Finally, Moses, with no more excuses before the Lord, simply said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send” (Exodus 4:13). Bottom line, “Lord, just send someone else.” But do you see the oxymoron here? Do you see the contradiction? Moses referred to God as “Lord,” but was refusing His commission! If God was indeed Moses, “Lord,” he would have obeyed the Lord without question. It was like Peter saying “Not so Lord!” (Acts 10:14). It contradicted his very words. How about you, have you ever said, “No Lord!”?
Contentment is not complacency. Complacency is living the fat-cat life of a Christian couch potato. Complacency is self-indulging. Complacency demonstrates a lack of urgency over the critically important wasting away of lost souls and lack of care about the peril of their eternal dark destiny. Complacency is a failure, no a refusal to take God at His word; it’s not only to disregard God but to rebel against Him. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). To the complacent such words mean little. The complacent is willfully unmoved. To the complacent they put little faith in such calls to urgency by God. Complacency is disregard for the Holy One of all. And the Bible states those who are complacent should listen up to God. It says they should be troubled about the state of lethargy and spiritual dullness they have fallen into. It says they should strip themselves of such laziness and humble themselves before God (Isaiah 32:9-11). Complacency makes God angry (Exodus 4:14). That is not a good position to be in. Complacency is the heart of, “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Contentment is not complacency; it is a contented God-dependent preparation to go when called by God.
Third, contentment is not an excuse to compromise. Later in Moses ministry we see an event that further demonstrates that he grew in his contentment. The sons of Aaron offered profane fire in sacrificing to the Lord. They neglected to minister to God as holy. They paid the price of such neglect with their lives (Leviticus 10:1-7). Serving the Lord is serious business that should always be done in holy reverence for the LORD. The sons of Aaron had apparently cared so little of the holiness of God that they attempted to serve him in a drunken stupor (Leviticus 10:8-11). Those who serve the Lord should not indulge in anything that would impair their thinking. The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour God’s people (1 Peter 5:8-9). How much more is that true of those serving the Lord in ministry? Instead of being drunk and dissipated with alcohol, we should seek moment by moment to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God! (Ephesians 5:18-21).
The loss of Aaron’s sons had a deep and profound impact on Aaron. It also had a shocking impact on his remaining two sons. So shocked were they that apparently, they failed to fully eat the sin offering before the Lord. Instead they had let it burn. Moses was furious. Hadn’t they just lost two siblings because of irreverence? “Moses made careful inquiry” about the situation (Leviticus 10:16-18). Moses was content in the Lord, and that meant He would not compromise God’s law. It took a heartfelt explanation by Aaron to satisfy Moses.
When Moses heard the explanation by Aaron, it states, “So when Moses heard that, he was content” (Leviticus 10:20). The word translated “content” here (Hebrew yatab) means to make well, be accepted, to make better, to accept as good, to please, to make sweet, to accept as well. Moses was content with Aaron’s explanation in that he accepted that a proper holy response to God and His word had not been compromised.
Another example of this is found later in the book of Judges. The final five chapters in the book of Judges give a description of time of great chaos and confusion in the land of Israel. During this time, we see religious confusion, inter-tribal infighting, and moral degradation. These last five chapters in Judges are the low point in the nation of Israel.
In Judges 17 we see the oddity of a young Levite traveling the land coming to the house of Micah. The Levite’s only stated purpose in his travels was “to find a place to stay” (Judges 17:9). He’s aimless. Micah was spiritually searching. Micah had his own shrine set up in his house, had stitched together an ephod, and assembled a host of idols (Judges 17:5). The account is evidence of just how far God’s people had drifted from Yahweh the One True God. Now when this Levite comes to the house of Micah, he’s invited in. When Micah discovers the young man is a Levite (a tribe devoted to providing priests to Israel – Numbers 1:49-53), he invites him to stay and serve as his personal priest for hire (Judges 17:10). The Levite’s response is expressed in the words, “Then the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man became like one of his sons to him” (Judges 17:11). To be content to serve at a private home shrine, where there was a makeshift ephod and host of idols is a compromise of the grossest kind for one who was supposed to be set apart to serve the Lord. No, this was not a proper sort of contentment.
Two chapters later in Judges we see another account of this age of degradation, of a Levite who took a concubine for himself (Judges 19:1). The concubine “played the harlot against him” and left him (Judges 19:2). When the Levite goes after his concubine to her father’s house, we see a touching scene where the father of the concubine repeatedly coaxes the Levite to remain nearly a week visiting. No doubt this father missed his daughter and perhaps wanted to get to know this man who had pursued her. There’s a lot of relational dynamics we could speculate about and unpack here. Suffice it to say that the father invited the Levite to stay on the basis of contentment. The passage states, “So they sat down, and the two of them ate and drank together. Then the young woman’s father said to the man, “Please be content to stay all night, and let your heart be merry” (Judges 19:6). Later in this chapter after the Levite leaves with his concubine, they come to a dangerous situation where the concubine is actually offered up to some “perverted men” who rape her to death, all to secure the safety of the Levite. The Levite was content to allow this atrocity. It was a gross atrocity. Another example of the abuse of contentment.
Contentment is not an excuse to compromise God’s holiness or His word, it’s exactly the opposite. Contentment comes from being satisfied that God and His word are revered, seen as holy, and beliefs and actions are true to God and His word. Contentment focusses on God and his word. Contentment is resting in God and His word. Does this describe you?
The truly contented is not negligent of God and His word. To be content doesn’t mean you stand by as God’s reputation and honor are disparaged. To be content doesn’t mean we sit idly by as God’s word is desecrated and denounced. True contentment finds its place in making every effort to call to account those who desecrate God, His name, and or His word. This is what we see in Moses case. This is what true contentment is intertwined with in relation to God and His word. Do you have true contentment?
Fourth, contentment’s enemy is complaining. If you are truly contented, you won’t be a complainer. Moses passed the baton to Joshua to lead God’s people into the Promised Land. God gave specific instructions about the terms of conquest. God’s people were not to take any pagan idols or any booty from those they conquered unless otherwise stipulated by the Lord. Their first act of conquest went perfectly as planed with the destruction of Jericho. Jericho was one of the most if not the most formidable cities in Canaan. So, when this city fell as God said it would, and according to God’s instructions, it encouraged God’s people and discouraged their enemies.
Next on the docket of cities to be taken was the relatively little town of Ai. For that mission Joshua only sent a small portion of the army. But due to the sin of one man named Achan, God’s army was defeated. He had disobeyed God’s instructions and taken spoils from the city that were prohibited by God (Joshua 7:20-21). Achan let a lust of coveting lead him into a sin that impacted an entire army. It was a tragic act that led to the loss of life.
How did Joshua respond to this defeat? Did he humble himself before God? No, he complained. It states when Joshua got word of the defeat he said, “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!” (Joshua 7:7). In other words, Joshua complained to God, “It would have been better to just have been contented on the other side of the Jordan, outside this so-called Promised Land of Yours.” Joshua wasn’t concerned at the cause of this defeat. He wasn’t concerned about how this defeat reflected on God. He wasn’t concerned that God’s command had been disobeyed. He was only concerned about how this defeat reflected on him and his army. He wasn’t content in what God had allowed or what God was trying to teach him. He simply and in a shallow response complained about what God had allowed.
The defeat of Ai was part of God’s discipline and teaching a lesson to His people. By allowing the defeat of the army because of the disobedience of one soldier, God was teaching that obedience must be entire and that God’s people were a whole unit. What one individual does, has ramifications for the entire group. That is an important lesson to learn. If Joshua had been content and trusting in the Lord, he would have immediately sought the Lord about why this defeat happened and what was to be learned from God about it.
This is an age-old lesson taught throughout scripture. God deals with people as they relate to family, and groups. Jesus came to unite Jews and Gentiles into one Church (Ephesians 2:11-22). The members of a church are not to neglect their gathering together but are to be strengthened in relating to one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). At Ai, God was teaching His people the importance of unity, of community. But Joshua’s complaint threatened to short circuit the lesson God was teaching.
How did God respond to Joshua’s complaint? “So the LORD said to Joshua: ‘Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them” (Joshua 7:10-11). Stop complaining and be content to obey the LORD. The person who is content doesn’t complain, they seek the Lord when unforeseen problems develop. They seek the Lord when He allows defeats or obstacles that threaten or shake our spirit of contentment. The contented person does not complain.
Complaining is the enemy of contentment. In a society and culture that is bursting at the seems with complaining, this is a good truth for the Christian who wants to live contentedly in the Lord to remember. But it’s also something the church needs to hear. The Apostle John speaks of such complaining as being divisive to the body of Christ. “Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church” (3 John 10). Discontent and complaining are at the heart of nearly every source of division in the church. Where you find church splits and church divisions, you usually find a lack of contentment in the Lord. Has our discontent caused division or a church split?
Fifth, contentment is the way of Christ. When we come to the New Testament the first mention of contentment comes from the mouth of John the Baptist. As he prepares the way for Lord Jesus to come on the scene, and as he calls people to repentance, some soldiers asked him what they needed to do to prepare for the coming Lord. In the Gospel of Luke, The Baptizer states, “Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, ‘And what shall we do?’ So he said to them, ‘Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages’” (Luke 3:14). Here the word “content” (Greek arkeo) means to be content, be sufficient, be enough, suffice, be satisfactory. John the Baptist told these soldiers to accept their wages as being enough, sufficient, satisfactory. I’m not going to get into an extended discussion of the rightness or wrongness of seeking higher wages. Here John the Baptist simply states to these soldiers that they need to be content with their wages. I don’t believe there’s anything inherently wrong with seeking higher wages in our place of employment. But there is a very real danger that such a desire crosses the line into covetousness and greed. Seek to be satisfied with your wages my friend. God will supply if you need more.
Now John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He is a transitional figure who prepares the way for the coming of Messiah Jesus. But lest you think this only an Old Testament virtue, the Apostle Paul, in the inspired letter to the Philippians, the letter in which he speaks of joy throughout. Philippians is a letter in which Paul speaks of a confidence in God to complete the good work started in these believers (Philippians 1:6). It’s a letter in which Paul speaks of having the mind of Christ (Philippians 2). It’s a letter where he speaks of knowing Christ in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3). And it’s a letter he wrote from a jail cell. In the last chapter of this incredible epistle, Paul, from prison, testifies to the following:
- Philippians 4:11 (NKJV) – Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
If ever there was a clear statement about contentment, this is it! “In whatever state I am,” removes any excuse or any reason for not being content. In any and all situations we should be seeking the Lord to help us find His contentment. If Paul could write this from a jail cell, we have no reason, none, to think any circumstance in life is beyond the reach of contentment in Christ.
Sixth, contentment is for clergy too. Some of the most discontent people I’ve seen are those either seeking to be in ministry or who are in ministry. That’s sad. It’s usually those who have forced their way into ministry positions that are most discontent. The Apostle Paul wrote to young pastor Timothy:
- 1 Timothy 6:6–8 (NKJV) – Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. We brought nothing into this world. We can bring nothing out. There are no U-Haul trailers attached to hearses! “Food and clothing,” is all we need materially to be content. How about you pastor, are you content with what you have?
There are some, many unfortunately, in ministry who are hirelings. These are ministers for hire. Jesus referred to them as those who weren’t really concerned for the sheep, but who would run away when the threat of wolves arose (John 10:12-13). These are “ministers” who are opportunists. These are ministers who leave a congregation flat for a hiring paying appointment. These are those of whom Paul said, “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:19). Oh, I hope and pray there are none of those reading this. And if there is, I hope and pray you repent! In Jesus’ name, repent!
I don’t know how people in ministry came to the warped unbiblical view that ministry was a means to personal gain. I guess there have always been those who seek to profit from ministry rather than serve as a prophet in ministry (e.g. Jeremiah 23). Scripture connects “godliness” (Greek eusebeia) or holiness, reverence, piety towards God, following God’s example and “contentment” (Greek autarkeia) or satisfaction and contentment with where God has you, as a basis for “great gain.” When the Bible speaks of “great gain,” it isn’t speaking about dollar signs or precious metals, its talking about living for Jesus. Those seeking to serve the Lord, like Moses, need to learn to be content in where and how the Lord uses them.
John the Baptist, (the one Jesus said was the greatest prophet), said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven” (John 3:27). He said, “He [i.e. Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Someone once said, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”  To be content, truly content, a part of you, your fleshly sinful nature, must die. Contentment is death to self and living to God. Godliness leads to contentment and that is great gain my fellow servant of Christ. Who are you living for, yourself, or Jesus? Contentment will be determined by your answer.
Eight, contentment steers us away from covetousness and to Christ. In Hebrews it states, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5). “Without covetousness” (Greek aphilargyros) is one word in the original language. The word means not greedy, not pursuing filthy lucre, not loving money, not avaricious or having an insatiable appetite for more. To be covetous is to yearn and lust for more, always more, more, more, more. Covetousness is wanting more of what you already have enough of. How much is enough for you? Are you content with what you have? How many pairs of shoes is enough? How many shirts and pants and dresses and blouses are enough? How many things are enough for you? Do you possess things or do things possess you? Are you satisfied? Are you content with what God has provided? True contentment doesn’t come from you or your circumstances or the stuff you accumulate in life. True contentment comes in Christ.
To be content, on the other hand, is to be full. To be content is to be satisfied with what you have because you trust that what you have is what the Lord wants you to have. To be content is to trust the Lord to provide. To be content is to be satisfied with what the Lord gives you. And the path to true contentment is to come to that place where you say, “If I have Jesus, I have enough.” And that’s what the writer of Hebrews says here. He substantiates his exhortation to “be content with such things as you have,” with the words, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And that’s really the objective of this study; to drive you to Jesus. Contentment, true contentment, is found in Jesus; in a saving personal relationship with Jesus.
True contentment is only found in Jesus. You’re never going to be truly satisfied, truly content, until you give your heart to Jesus. How do you do that?
- First, turn from your sin and admit your sinfulness to God. It is our sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). It is our sin that condemns us as guilty before God the Just Judge (Galatians 3:10-13). All humanity is full of sin (Romans 3:9-18). We are all guilty before God and destined for hell (John 3:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 20:15).
- Second, trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as the only means to be forgiven of your sin. The wages or consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). A death penalty hangs over every human’s head. But God has laid our sin upon Jesus on the cross (Isaiah 53). The holiest of holy transactions, the greatest good news any and all humans will ever hear is that God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, on the cross, and for those who put their faith in Jesus, has put his righteousness to our account (2 Corinthians 5:21). By trusting Jesus as Savior, by believing in His atoning work on the cross and His resurrection, we will be forgiven and saved from our sin (see Romans 5; 10:8-9). All of this is a gift of God’s grace, a free gift received by trusting in Jesus as Savior. There is no work or effort we can do to earn our salvation or forgiveness for our sins from God. Salvation is a gift to be received by faith, not a something we earn (Ephesians 1; 2:1-9; Titus 3:4-7).
- Third, commit your life to Jesus. When a person completes the first two steps here, the Holy Spirit enters them and gives them spiritual life. Prior to this every human being is spiritually dead. To be right with God and be destined for eternal life, a person must experience a second birth. Just as we are physically born, we must be spiritual born again. That’s what Jesus said (John 3). The Holy Spirit regenerates or births us spiritually. When the Holy Spirit enters our life, we are regenerated, reborn, enlivened to God. And the Holy Spirit working in us will produce holy living; the spiritual fruit of love in us (Romans 5:5; Galatians 5). Jesus said the mark of His disciple was love (John 13:35). And such love would be characterized by a supreme love for God and a sacrificial love for others (Matthew 22:37-40). Such love is at the heart of living for Jesus. When you have such love and trust in Jesus, contentment is not only possible, it is probable.
Are you content in Christ? Are you discontent? Have you come to Jesus? Are you a discontented “Christian”? Have you considered what the Bible says about contentment such as we’ve studied? I encourage you to set all your reasons for discontent before the Lord. I encourage you to shake off the shackles of discontentment and take up the mantel of contentment in Christ. The discontented life is a tiring life, an exhausting life, and empty life. But true contentment found in Jesus is invigorating and full. Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Have you learned that? Have you learned to be content in “whatever state” you are in? Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). That’s true contentment in a nutshell. Jesus said it. That should settle it. Be content. In Jesus’ name, be content! Amen.