Recently, I had to ride in my colleague’s vehicle after work, and he jammed some lovely gospel music along. Some minutes into our trip, the beautiful Maverick City song “Jireh” came on. We sang along with glee as the melodious rhythm coupled with reassuring lyrics oozed out of the speakers, and at some point, we arrived at a very instructive line. In unison, we sang, “I will be content in every circumstance, Jirehhhh! You are enough”
We had only gone a few metres when my colleague retorted “Can a person actually be content in every situation? Haba!!!”
I could relate with his bewilderment and query. The dictionary definition of contentment means “to be in a state of satisfaction”.
Can we truly feel satisfied in all circumstances?
To answer this, we will need to understand contentment beyond semantics, but from the bible perspective.
Let us consider what contentment is not.
- Contentment is not embracing every event that comes your way as the will of God. Not every event of life is orchestrated by God. Some are attacks of the devil or consequences of wrong choices. Sickness is not God’s will for anyone, neither is stagnation nor poverty. This is the reason we have scriptures that instruct us to resist the devil, to put on the whole armour of God, etc. Some circumstances will require fervent prayers, for some, you will actively move against by divine wisdom.
- Contentment is not complacency: Taking everything as it comes. No drive. Living by chance. Not being intentional. Throwing in the towel at the slightest confrontation. The Que Sera Sera approach to life. There is no biblical instruction to be complacent. Rather, the scriptures advocate planning, strategy, courage. The Can-Do spirit.
- Contentment is not Laziness: God is anti-Laziness. The Apostle of grace instructs that the lazy man must not eat. There is a tendency to shroud laziness under the guise of contentment. An excuse against hard work, innovation, and grit.
- Contentment is not synonymous with poverty: Both must not be conflated. Wealth does not confer contentment, neither does poverty. There are greedy and discontent rich men and poor men alike. Wealth is a poor judge of spiritual or soul prosperity.
- Low self-esteem is not contentment, neither is false humility.
The sojourn of Apostle Paul brings the true contentment picture home. The picture of a man whose joy and satisfaction is not determined either by abundance or lack. True contentment is finding satisfaction in the only factor that is eternally consistent – GOD, such that your peace and joy flows from Him. You reckon his endless ability to provide, save, deliver, protect, and you acknowledge him as your source and anchor in all situations of life whether good or bad, hence you exist in a perpetual state of tranquillity, knowing that he holds you.The true picture of contentment is that of a man whose joy is not determined either by abundance or lack. True contentment is finding satisfaction in the only factor that is eternally consistent – GOD. Click To Tweet
What does true contentment look like?
“If you can live peacefully and joyfully with what you have while aspiring diligently for what you want, you are the wealthiest person alive. “Bamidele Salako
- True contentment esteems spiritual riches in Christ over the earthly, prioritizing the eternal nature of the former. Paul shows us his example in Philippians 4:12-13. He declares that he has learnt to survive with almost nothing, and also with everything; to be full and hungry, to abound and to suffer need. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”
- A truly content believer is not covetous, rather he lives within his means while striving to have more. Hebrews 13:5
- To be content is to make a practice of gratitude. Don’t get it twisted. This does not imply attributing evil to God. It simply means being grateful in your current state while aspiring for better. The bible never said “Give thanks FOR everything”, rather it says “IN everything, give thanks”. We do not thank God for sickness, being broke, robbery, addictions, death of a loved one, however, in the midst of it all, as we pray and deploy biblical principles, we give thanks to God, because we are assured of his presence with us.
- A life free of worry and anxiety. To be content is to be free of worry and anxiety. Life is more than what to eat and drink… In Matthew 6:27 Jesus says you cannot add a cubit to your height by worrying… Such a futile exercise, worry is. The contented man rather puts his trust in the Lord, even as he labours in the will of God.
- A resolve to follow the plans and purposes of God. A content heart must trust the will of the Lord and seek to fulfil same. Inordinate desire for material things is not of God. You do not have to compromise your values on the altar of luxury. Matthew 6:31-33
Why should you be content?
- Human riches will never satisfy. You will always desire more. Hence, not reliable for satisfaction. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. Luke12:15. Christ is the sole source of true satisfaction. 1Timothy 6:17
- Earthly treasure will not count outside the earth. We brought nothing to this world, we can carry nothing out 1Timothy 6:6-7.
- God is with you FOREVER. In Hebrews 13:5-6, the writer speaks against covetousness and advocates contentment for a sole reason – “God will never leave you nor forsake you”. How reassuring! Under no condition will he leave. So, we can confidently declare that “The Lord is our helper”. He is with you even in the storms.
Do a quick Contentment check. What regulates your joy? The presence or absence of a great job, money, a partner? Or the ever-abiding presence of Christ?
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