What is the True Meaning of Contentment? (Contentment Series Part 2)

contented orange tabby cat sleeping

What is your definition of contentment?

If you think it means NO challenges, pain, or stress, you will never be content in life! Jesus said in this world we would have tribulation (Jn 16:33).

Yet God wants us to be content, and even commands it (Heb 13:5). So we need to figure out what God means by being content and how the Apostle Paul could say:

…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:11-13)

Paul wasn’t born contented. He had to go through many hardships before he penned those famous words. They were written about 30 years after his conversion. Within that time, he had many experiences through which the Lord could teach him (see 2 Cor 11:23-28). Here’s one example:

…We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God…. (2 Cor 1:8-10)

Paul’s mind had to be transformed into right thinking. He had to get God’s perspective on life. He was just a human like you and I. So there’s hope for us—if we’re willing to learn and apply! Let’s see if we can discover…

The True Meaning of Contentment

~Contentment is…

Happy enough with what one has or is; freedom from dissatisfaction, anxiety, or agitation. ~Webster

The ability to cope with the circumstances of life; an inner peace and sense of quietness and rest that is undisturbed by outward circumstances. ~Charles Stanley

~Contentment doesn’t mean we are not to strive to be and do better.

Contentment is not a passive acceptance of the status quo, but the positive assurance that God has supplied one’s needs and the consequent release from unnecessary desires. ~Chip Ingram

There is a healthy tension between being satisfied and reaching for more. For instance, we should never be content with where we are in our relationship with God; there’s always room for growth with our infinite Lord!

~Contentment doesn’t mean there isn’t a longing for something better, or for things to be different. 

On earth our full redemption has yet to be realized. There’s nothing wrong in wanting things to be right and perfect. God Himself put that longing there (Eccl 3:11).

~Contentment is not the goal, but a byproduct of godly living!

We are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness—not happiness (1 Tim 6:11)!

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mat 6:33)

The two greatest commandments are to love God with our whole being and to love others. Everything else hinges on these two mandates.

Therefore, contentment is a result of being and remaining in a right relationship with God. This is the biggest missing truth in the lives of most people!

~Contentment is found in Christ, not in our circumstances; not in the absence of pain, but in the presence of Christ. 

Christ is more than enough.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ. (Col 2:9-10)

My friends, let these truths sink deep into your souls. When you have the right perspective, you will get to the place where you actually feel satisfied—at least some of the time here on earth!

You will feel complete because you are complete.

And even when you don’t feel content, you have a sure hope deep down inside—that your Living Hope, Jesus Christ Himself, will one day make all things right and perfect!

For true contentment is found in none other than in the person of Jesus Christ Himself!

(NIV) The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.