In our last lesson, we stressed the difference between natural contentment and Christian contentment. Natural contentment can be strict training, from childhood, where you are taught to be quiet and submit to your circumstances. It can be passive resignation that forces a person to take on a position of humility in life. It also can be a naturally good-natured outlook on life, in which you can see that others that have more aren't necessarily happy. This kind of person sees that relationships yield more satisfaction than possessions. Christian contentment is unique in that there are very positive reasons for contentment. There are very powerful graces at work, in which our love for God and our faith in God cause us to function well, with or without the benefit of material abundance (Philippians 4:11-13; II Corinthians 12:7-10). The mercy, comfort, and joy of the Lord overcomes the sorrows and trials of life (John 16:33; II Corinthians 1:3-7; James 1:2-4).
Here is an outline, from our last lesson, showing what may be gleaned from Philippians 4:4-19.
Three aspects of Christian Contentment:
- Contentment with the Lord - who He is (Philippians 4:4-5,7,9,19)
- He is the Lord who is at hand / who is near (Philippians 4:4-5).
- He is the God of peace (Philippians 4:7,9).
- He is my God; The God who supplies for me and for all of us (Philippians 4:19).
- Contentment with who I am in Christ (Philippians 4:6-7,13,19)
- I am allowed to ask the Father for all things in Jesus' name (Philippians 4:6-7).
- I am supplied with strength by Christ (Philippians 4:13).
- I have access to all of God's riches in glory through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
- Contentment with the Lord's provision (Philippians 4:13,19)
- Note: The word "providence" contains the word "provide."
- Through Christ, I can do "All things." I not only can survive, but I can thrive on whatever situations and circumstances are given to me in life (Philippians 4:11-13)
- God shall supply "All your need / every need" (Philippians 4:19 cp. Psalm 23:1).
Now let's discover more about these aspects from other Scriptures.
Contentment with the Lord - who He is
- He is the source of life - giving us direction, purpose, and power.
(John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7-11; 11:25-26; 14:6; 15:1-8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; 3:10; cp. Romans 11:33-36)
- He is the source of abundant grace and truth.
(John 1:14,16-17; 4:10,14; II Corinthians 12:7-10; Colossians 2:1-10; II Timothy 2:1)
- He alone makes us fruitful and productive.
(Philippians 1:11; John 15:1-8; Galatians 3:1-3; 5:16-25 cp. Romans 15:17-18; I Corinthians 1:29-31)
Contentment with who I am in Christ
- I am forgiven - accepted by God for Christ's sake.
(Romans 3:19-26; 5:1-2,6-11; Ephesians 1:3-7; Colossians 1:12-14)
- I am God's child - loved and cherished by God, who is my Forever Father.
(Romans 8:15-17,31-39; Galatians 4:4-6)
- I am sitting in heavenly places with Christ - a king and a priest before God.
(Ephesians 2:1-10; Colossians 1:13; I Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 1:5-6)
Contentment with the Lord's provision
- God has committed Himself to provide everything that I need.
(Matthew 6:25-34; 7:7-11; Luke 12:32 cp. Psalm 23:1-6)
- God has thought of everything and is arranging my life for good and heavenly purposes.
(Romans 8:16-18,28-29; II Corinthians 4:6-18; II Timothy 4:18 cp. Psalm 139:1-18)