The Contented Christian: Being Content When My World Has Been Shut Down and Turned Upside Down

In order to live a life of contentment you must have a confidence in God's providence.  Look at Philippians 4:10 “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me, indeed you were concerned but you lacked opportunity.”  You see it had been 10 years since Paul first went to Philippi and planted the church, ten years since he was thrown in jail, ten years since the Philippian jailer was converted after the earthquake released all the prisoners. 10 years since he had heard from them.
But that was cool, Paul said, it wasn’t that you weren’t concerned for me, it was what?  Last part of V 10, you didn’t have the opportunity.  Paul wasn’t down, he didn’t get his feelings hurt, he wasn’t mad at them, he says, you didn’t have the right opportunity.  Instead, he said, “ I rejoiced” when after ten years, Epaphroditus shows up, with the love gift.  It wasn’t that you didn’t care, it was that you just now had an opportunity to do something.  Paul simply waited patiently on God to take care of his needs.
Let me tell you, Paul gives us a great lesson of providence.  The main reason that Paul was content was that he knew God had everything under control and at the proper time, God would provide.  It wasn’t the Philippians fault, it was that it wasn’t the right time.  This is the major lesson we must learn in pursuing contentment.  If we can get to the place where Paul was and understand that our God is creator, provider, sustainer, He is sovereign over the universe and everything is working together for good, then you will find contentment, you will find peace in our world.
Paul was content all because of the idea that the Philippians never had an opportunity until now.  Paul is saying, God just now made it possible, so the timing is perfect.  Paul believed that God was in charge, and as long as God was in charge and God was ordering everything for His purposes, all would be fine!  So Paul was content.  Once we realize it’s all about Him and not about us, it’s all about His fame and not ours, then we can become content.
Friends, I get it, our lives have been upended.  Many of us are grieving the loss of jobs, less income, restrictions on what we enjoy as well as the hope of things to come.  Canceled graduation parties, summer vacations, trips with friends and all sorts of relational loss.  It’s easy to fall into the ”whoa is me” trap.  But even in this season we are called to be content with Christ.  Then 4:12, And I know what it’s like to have abundance, and I know what its like to suffer lack.”  The point is in everything I’m content because I live independent from my circumstances.
Paul isn’t anybody’s  victim, He had a great faith in God, he learned the truth behind Jesus words in Luke 6:21, you may weep now, but you will laugh later.  You may go hungry now, but you will be full later.  His eye was on the right thing, he was looking toward the future.  He lived a tough life, he’d been imprisoned, beaten, lost at sea, hunger, thirst, he lived a rough life, yet he knew contentment did not rest on him or his circumstances.
I know it will be tough, it is countercultural, but we must pursue contentment so that we can live a life that is at peace, a life that is on purpose, a life that brings God glory.  What circumstances are you dealing with that have robbed you of contentment?  Contentment is available, we must have confidence in God’s providence, He’s in charge.  Do you believe that?  We must learn to be satisfied with little or with much.  We must learn to live independent of our circumstances.  Our life is not defined by our circumstances, our life is defined in who we are in Christ!
These are essential to contentment.  Paul lived above his circumstances, so how can we live above them, too?  We must live a life that is setting our desires on things above and not on things on earth, because we count it all joy for the privilege of suffering for the sake of Christ.
We need a heavenly vision, you need an eternal perspective.  You are looking to your eternal reward, Paul said it best when he said. “This affliction is not worthy to be compared to the glory which is to come.”  Because He was confident in God’s providence, he was satisfied with very little, and he didn’t buy into the need values of his culture and he was independent of circumstances because his affections were on another kingdom.
Contentment is available to the believer.  Ask God to help you.  Yield to His Spirit moment by moment and you will find yourself pursuing contentment. However, if you don’t believe, the contentment I speak about it is unobtainable.  This is a reward or benefit for the believer.




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