The Key to Contentment

The Key to Contentment November 9, 2010

Finding contentment in life is and should be an ongoing activity. For Christians, I believe we have an advantage in our quest for contentment because we are children of God and have an unmatched joy through Christ.

But have you ever considered why we should be content? I like how the author of Hebrews puts it in chapter 13 verse 5 –

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Simply put, we are instructed to be content because we serve a God that has promised to always be there for us. We should feel satisfied and fulfilled because of his grace, not because of our material possessions.

Ok, so I know I need to be content…but how?

– Thankfulness

If you’ve never tried an exercise in contentment, try this activity. It’s simple: make a list of all the things you are thankful for. I mean everything. From your family, your house and car, even to your shoes, clothes and books – list each item out line by line until you’ve filled an entire page.

I first tried this in college after I started feeling like I needed nicer things and a better job and newer clothes and….you get the point. Somehow I snapped out of it, made the list, and simply thanked God instead of asking for more. This verse in Philippians led me to understand that a key to contentment is thankfulness.

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Save the list of things you’re thankful for and copy this scripture on it. Remind yourself of this list by keeping it in your Bible, your bathroom mirror, your car, or wherever you’ll see it again. When you’re intentionally thankful, you start to see how blessed you really are. I know my attitude changed that day when I stopped asking for things and started thanking God for what I had.

– Rely on Christ

We know that with Christ, all things are possible, right? And we read in Proverbs 3: 5-6that we are to –

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

When we put our trust in the Lord, we’re able to do all things and be confident that He’ll make our efforts fruitful. If we adopt this mindset, we are on the right path to contentment. Combine this trust with your attitude of thanksgiving and your life goals will go way beyond upgrading your wardrobe or getting a nicer car – it’ll start to align with the outcome we find here:

1 Timothy 6:6-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take noting out of it.

When we combine this attitude of contentment with a daily attempt to be like Christ, we can experience great gain. Satisfaction in life is not through upgrades, pay increases, or promotions – it’s through godliness and contentment.

What are ways that you’ve reminded yourself to be content in certain situations?

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  • My friend and I went for a medical test within two days of each last week and we were discussing it over lunch. I told her I got my results back and everything was good. She got a call later that day and said she had to go back to see the doctor because there might be a problem. At that very moment, I was both worried for my friend, and also thinking how stressed I could be at that time had the situations been reversed. (The ‘it could have been me’ feeling I guess.) I hated that my friend was scared, and I knew I had to go with her to the appt to help her through it in case it was bad news because I knew I would have wanted the support.

    Ever since, I have ignored some of the little things that might of bothered me because I was reminded that life can be hard, and I am incredibly lucky to be in the situation I am in right now.

    • Tim

      Sometimes we take for granted the small things in life; but intentionally acknowledging what you’re thankful for can help to put things into perspective.

      Thanks for sharing your story – I hope it can encourage others to recognize that we need to be more thankful for what we have and live each day without regret!

  • Great post Tim. Contentment is something we should all strive for. I like the idea of writing a list of things we have to be thankful for.

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