Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me…Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

(Philippians 4:11-13; 17-18)

-Contentment is not the ambivalence of what one does not have. Paul knew he was hungry when he was hungry. “and hunger.” 

-Yet, Contentment allows one live as if all needs are met. “Not that I am speaking of being in need.” One is not ultimately dependent upon the things of this world. He has an all loving and wise heavenly Father who knows what he needs and when to give it to him.

-Contentment is needed when one lives in abundance as much when one has little to nothing.  Paul had learned it while in “plenty and hunger.” Finally receiving what you have wanted does not make one content. Like a friend of mine once remarked, “only contented single people make contented married people.”

-Contentment is a  mindset. “I know.” It is about how you think about your circumstances. Are you in a random place in your life where you are not getting what you want? Or are you keeping your mind on the reality of who God is and speaking truth to yoruself?

-Contentment has to be taught to one’s self. “I have learned.” Like all works of the Spirit we don’t immediately obtain them when we become believers. We don’t instantly attain contentment. We have to be trained by grace (Titus 2:11-12) throughout our lives.

-Contentment is not the obvious answer to the ups and downs of life. “the secret.” The obvious answer is to get what you want. But that answer is very false. The secret answer is to not find ultimate joy in what you want.

-Contentment is a consistent mindset through the ups and owns of life. “to be brought low, and I know how to abound.” There are times you will have a lot and there will be times that you think you have little. The circumstance of life might change but contentment is firm throughout, because it looks to the One who is firm throughout.

-Contentment makes you relate to people differently. You don’t build relationships to get from them. Instead you build relationships so that they can get.  “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.” When contentment starts to become our mindset our view of people beings to change. People do not become means to our own ends. Instead, because we are not dependent on them for happiness we are free to love and serve them—even if they give nothing back. We build the bridge to the other side regardless if they will build one back or not.

-Contentment is preformed only by being empowered by God. “through him who strengthens me.”  This not not a mindset and way of relating to people that you can get by your own self effort. You are completely dependent upon God for the strength to to this.

-Contentment can be learned because it is empowered by God. “through him who strengthens me.” You are not a lonely soul fighting for sanctification. The Spirit of the living God is within you! You could never obtain it if you were by yourself. But you are not. Sovereign love and power has promised to finish in you what He has begun in you. You can be a content person! For God is for you in all things!