I had an opportunity this morning to listen to the last of the sermon series I have shared my notes and outlines on, Soul Therapy. The last sermon has to do with the topic of contentment. The Apostle Paul wrote Philippians while he was incarcerated in a Roman prison. He was writing to the Philippian church to encourage them, all while he was in prison for simply teaching and speaking about God. He had never even committed a crime, yet he was guarded and being treated as one of the worst kinds of criminals.
The Niche of Contentment
The word niche comes from the French and Latin word which means a nest. The dictionary defines it as a comfortable or suitable position in life. In other religions contentment is said to be something achieved through the suppression of all desires, apathy and the resignation to fate and accepting whatever life offers you. For us in Christianity, true contentment in life is a contentment that comes from being right with God and knowing He supplies everything we need.
The foundation for contentment rests on these three points:
My attitude. This means my attitude towards God, my life and the events happening in my life and around me. We cannot control anything that happens around us; most things are out of our control although we do have influence over certain things. A bad thought process will never lead to contentment, therefore we must think right about ourselves, God and what’s going on in our lives and the world. Paul was jailed and treated like a criminal although he had never committed a crime and everything happening to him was unfair, yet he did not let that alter his attitude.
My actions. We must always do what is right in any situation. Never let our situations dictate our actions!
My adequacy or who I am in Christ! Again, Paul never stopped doing what he knew he should be doing. He had contentment through Christ and he kept persevering despite events unfolding on his life. Many of us would give into a negative thought process and grow more and more apathetic by the day; we would ask why is this happening to me, but not Paul. Paul knew that his strength came from the Lord.
Here are some keys to maintaining contentment.
We must first make our relationship with God a priority. Our relationship with God must be the most important in our lives. He must take number 1 spot over even our relationships with our spouses, children or any family member or friend. If He is number one, all other relationships will thrive. Our contentment is based on our relationship with Him and not on worldly things such as how much money we make, the car we drive, how big our house is, how educated we are, our social status or even through our spouse. He is the biggest and most important key to contentment in our lives.
We must view our life through an eternal lens. This spiritual lens comes from being content with knowing God. Paul is a prime example. Although Paul was enduring much negative in his life, he remained upbeat and kept spreading the word of God to even his guards in the prison. He knew that life wasn’t just about today or tomorrow, but about eternity in Heaven and bringing as many people with him as he could!
We must also learn to live an unselfish life. We can’t just concern ourselves with our best interest but the interests of others as well. Selfish people are never content! They’re always worried they’ll lose something and usually material items. We have to learn to be generous in every aspect of our lives.
Lastly, we must know that we are growing as a person. Paul was a highly respected religious scholar who had great influence yet he said none of that was of any importance compared to his faith in God through his Christianity. Although he was well-educated, he still knew he had much left to learn. He understood that there was always room for improvement and you’re never too old to stop learning and growing. Some people believe they’re old enough to have learned everything they need to learn, but there is so much more out there that we will never stop learning. We should never get to a point in life where we think we have nothing left to learn. One of the greatest cello players, Pablo Casals, was asked why he still practiced playing 6 hours a day at the age of 95 when he was already noted for being one of the greatest, he said he was still making progress, learning and improving his craft. He believed he still had more to learn, at the age of 95! May we never stop learning; forget the past and set our eyes to the future.
I pray that all of you reading can find true contentment in life through Christ. May we ALL look at life through an eternal lens just as Paul did! May we follow Paul’s example that no matter what is happening to us or around us, that we remain upbeat and joyful because our strength comes from the Lord and He is FOR us, never against us; working all together for good for those that love Him! 🙌
Much Love and God Bless 💚