My natural desire is to want things that are bigger and better. Shrewd advertisers understand this and use it to their advantage. They never say, “Ken, you really don’t need this and it’s a waste of money anyway.”
What do they do instead? They create discontentment.
This weekend we are finishing our series on Philippians with what may seem like a strange way for the Apostle Paul to end a letter. Instead of giving us a pep talk about finishing strong, he shares his “secret” to contentment.
Why talk about contentment? Here’s what I’ve found: Until I find my contentment in Christ, I will always be restless and unfulfilled.
The secret to contentment is knowing you are in Christ and empowered by him.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:10-12
Paul and modern advertisers both understand human psychology but have different goals. For advertisers, your discontentment benefits them (you buy more products, they make more money).
Paul understands that true contentment benefits you.
When you understand the gospel, you realize that God always wants what is best for us. That’s why Paul tackles a very common myth:
If my circumstances were different, I would be different.
The truth is, while you may have new circumstances, you remain the same old you. What’s amazing is that Paul is writing in the 1st century and human nature hasn’t changed much. If he were writing today, he might say, “I’ve learned to be content whether I have the latest iPhone or a flip phone.
The myth says: if my circumstances were better, then I’d be content. The truth says: contentment is more about changing our hearts than it is changing our circumstances.
[Sidenote: Don’t confuse contentment with complacency. Paul wasn’t saying that we should be satisfied with our present spiritual condition. The mature believer knows she can always be more like Jesus.]
But don’t miss what Paul is saying … whatever the circumstances, whatever the situation, the secret to contentment remains the same … Knowing you are in Christ and empowered by him.
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles … – Philippians 4:13-14
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. – Philippians 4:19-20
Paul was able to be content in any circumstance or situation because he knew he was in Christ and empowered by him. He was convinced that God would meet all his needs – and the needs of the Philippians – and your needs – through Christ Jesus.
Which leads me to a confession: I tend to be a very independent person. I like to think I can solve most – if not all – my problems. My guess is, I’m not the only one who has to be reminded to trust in God more than in myself.
What is the secret? Knowing you are in Christ and empowered by him.
Throughout Philippians, Paul reinforces this message:
I am confident that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6
To live is Christ and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. – Philippians 3:12
The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
Paul was Christ-dependent not independent. He knows that until we find our contentment in Christ, we will always be restless and unfulfilled.
Experience and Background
- Professor at Warner University
- masters in business administration (mba)
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
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I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.