We have all heard that we need to be content and when we are content we will be happy. But is that really true? Will we be happy when we are content, and if so, how are we to be content in such a demanding, fast-paced world? Let’s find the answers to these questions by looking at Scripture and discovering the truth about contentment.
The Bible is pretty clear about the need to be content. Hebrews 13:5, “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.’” Other passages like 1 Timothy 6:6-8 tell us to be content with the basic needs of food and clothing. The apostle Paul tells us that he has learned the secret to being content in all situations in Philippians 4. Well what is that secret? Let’s find out.
How are we supposed to be content when we have nothing, or how are we to be content when we have a lot but the world is so demanding? Both Paul and Jesus give us the answer. Let’s go back to Paul. Paul is discussing that he can find contentment when he has nothing and when he has much. Then in verse 13 of chapter 4 of Philippians, he gives the secret to being content. “ I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Paul says that he can be content through all these situations because Christ gives him the strength to do so. He can be content through Christ and his strength. You may be asking, how can this be? How can Christ give us strength when we need food or water? How can he do that when we need that new job to support our families? Well, God will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19). But Jesus is going to take what Paul said a step further into what this really means.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus gives us the key to getting the strength from Christ. Christ gives us strength, so how do we get it? Jesus gives that answer. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Seeking God and His kingdom first is the answer to being content, no matter the situation. When we seek God, and trust that God is in control when it is out of our control we can find contentment. Jesus even says, “these things will be given to you as well” when we seek God. But what “things” was Jesus referring to? Well to give some context, this quote is said just as Jesus is concluding His teaching on not worrying about our life. He teaches not to worry about food, clothing or basic needs because God will give us those and abundantly more if we seek Him and His kingdom. Seeking God and trusting in Him is the answer to being content.
When we put into perspective what it is we are supposed to be seeking (God) and not material things (cars, houses, money, etc.) these material things become less meaningful to us because we can’t take any of them with us when we die. Solomon spends lots of time contemplating this idea as he writes the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon was one of the richest kings in Israel. He had anything and everything he wanted. Nothing was off limits to him. And yet as he thought about all these things he attained as king, he was not happy with any of them. He found no contentment, no joy in his life. In Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 Solomon comes to a conclusion on pleasures and riches. He says, “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? “ Without God and seeking God, joy and contentment are not able to be found. Only God can give us peace and contentment in our life.
In conclusion, to find contentment, we must follow God and seek Him. Only then will we find true contentment. The world is always wanting us to get more and more. More money, more stuff, more things to make us happy. However, God tells us that we can seek Him and trust in Him and then we will be content, no matter the situation, because Christ gives us the strength to do so. God is the source of happiness and the source to being content.