“To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11
“Be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
Elimination of pride. Dependence on the Lord. Sufficient grace. The power of Christ. The everlasting presence of God. All make up the content of contentment, its bubbling spring and source. Contentment, while commanded, is not something we stir up in ourselves or resolve to feel. It is an attitude borne of confidence and hope in who the Lord is and how He cares for us. It blooms continually and strong from gratitude for His marvelous ways and the hope of our heavenly future. It flourishes under the triune blessing of God’s love, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
So why are so many discontent? Because we’ve become conceited, thinking too highly of ourselves and claiming entitlement to all things pleasant and easy. Because we chafe against thorns as unfair and fight off their bleed, instead of welcoming them as God’s tools for our holiness and recognition of His grace. Because we insist on ordering our circumstances instead of accepting those God has ordained for our good. We don’t like whatever situations, and avoid them instead of learning what we can in them.
All of our kicking and resistance make it hard to get our minds off of ourselves. We are consumed with what we have that we don’t want, or what we wish we had or could do that we do not. But if we desire true contentment, and tie it to Jesus, all can be well with our souls whether we have abundance or dearth. We will find that in godliness, in the fear of the Lord today and the hope of seeing His likeness one day, there is deep and satisfying contentment like nothing else. (Psalm 17:15; Proverbs 19:23; 1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Where do we look for satisfaction? What do we treasure most, and where do we attach our longings? Are we currently in a state of angst, fretting, negativity, or discontent, and what circumstances or attitudes got us there? Contentment teaches us to rejoice in trials because they produce endurance, character, and assurance of a reward in heaven. Contentment in Christ Jesus secures our treasure and our longings for the present and future. (Matthew 5:11-12; 6:21; Romans 5:3-5; Philippians 3:20)