Cultivating Contentment

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” – Philippians 4:11

Personally, this is for me one of the most powerful verses in the Bible. And the best thing about it is you and I can experience this truth, if only we will cultivate it.

So many self-professed “Christians” today are not contented. They look longingly at the past, and yearningly toward the future. They are unhappy in the now. I know people who are always in regret of the past, and are constantly trying to anticipate the future that they miss out life’s great possibilities of the present.

Let us survey our lives right now. We pursue a lot of things in life – a new car… a new relationship… a new PC… a new tech gadget… a new house… a new education… or even a new body by working out. All of these things are good, and God will give them to us in His own time and for His glory. But have you ever pursued this matter of contentment? The Bible said if we pursue after contentment, it will bring us great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

But contentment is not a natural instinct of us, humans. Covetousness, murmuring, and discontent is the nature of man. You don’t teach people to complain; they automatically do it without education. I admit I myself am sometimes like this.

Nothing beautiful comes easy. Precious things must be cultivated. In order to have wheat, we must plow and sow; if we want flowers, there must be a garden and a gardener. Same is true with contentment; it will not grow in us by nature. We must practice it, cultivate and nourish it!

Are you contented right now? Are you satisfied with the things you have? Through God’s grace, do you realize how much you already have? Do you realize how blessed you are right now? For my part, I’ve applied this principle in my life by learning contentment.

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have. Friends, it is truly far better to want all that you have, than have all that you want!

A discontented Christian seems to be saying to God that “Lord, my salvation is not enough. My relationship with Christ is nice, but I want more. I can think of a lot of things I want to have. A mansion on top of the hill sounds great and all, but can I have it now?”

Let me clarify something. It is right and good to be contented with what we HAVE, but we should never be contented with what WE CAN BECOME. Those are two different things.

If we are to be discontent in this life, let us be discontented with our spiritual growth, let’s pursue Christlikeness more and more and more. The problem with most Christians is that we are experiencing discontent in things that shouldn’t bother us (material things), and instead finding contentment in the things that we should be discontented about (spiritual growth). We have things the other way around, pursuing materialism then being complacent about our spiritual maturity.

In conclusion, let us pursue the right things in life as the Bible says it. Cultivate contentment over the things we have, and only find discontentment in the realm of our spiritual growth.

“Contentment makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.” – Benjamin Franklin