I have been reading through Philippians with my friend over the last few weeks. It's been delightful to read, think through and explore this marvellous letter.
This week we got to the idea of contentment.
How do you define it? Perhaps it's easier to say what it's not. It's not greed. It's not grasping for more. It's not obsession.
It's also not having no needs at all, or saying that needs you do have don't matter. Paul says he can be content, even while in need. But he points out that contentment is not necessarily part of having all your needs met either! Contentment is not tied to circumstances.
Contentment is something that we can learn. It might take some time to learn. It's not going to be something that is easy to grasp.
Perhaps a good way to define it is to look back earlier in the chapter to where Paul talks about 'the peace that passes understanding'. Such peace is a gift from God, and comes after we give our anxieties to him.
Perhaps the beginning of contentment is seeing ourselves in perspective to God, and being at peace to let him be in control. He is in the end the one who gives strength. We don't have it on our own.
Philippians 4:10-13 10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.