What does it mean to live a truly content life?
You’ve seen it on graduation cards. You’ve seen it on Facebook and Instagram. You’ve heard it used as encouragement for mission trips and tough decisions. You know, the “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” verse.
Well, what if we told you that Christians often use this verse in the wrong way? What if we told you that it’s not a cheesy way of telling you that you can do anything if you like the name of God. What if we told you it is Paul’s way of stating that he can live a content life in God?
Living a content life in God
The verse in question is Philippians 4:11-13. It goes like this:
“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.” (ESV)
You must understand the context of this verse. Paul is writing from prison, and he has faced a lot of trials and hardship along the way. He’s writing to a church who will likely face similar trials. He’s encouraging them to find contentment in any situation, good or bad, the same way he did: through God.
You may be asking yourself, “What does it look like to live a content life today?” After all, Christians in Western culture don’t suffer the kind of persecution that afflicted Paul and his contemporaries. Well, although our circumstances are different, the truth behind what Paul wrote is still true today: we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.
What a content life looks like
It’s one thing to say we can endure all things through Christ, but it’s another thing to actually put this into practice. Nobody is perfect, so we’re not claiming to be experts here, but we find that a content life generally includes three things:
- Patience — We tend to live in discontent because we’re always in a rush to get to whatever is next. This causes stress and doesn’t allow us to live in the moment. Patience takes time and isn’t an inherent skill in many of us. It’s something that must be practiced, but when it is, it can open up doors to contentment that were previously shut.
- Thanksgiving — Be thankful for where you’re at in life. Don’t compare yourself to others and long for what someone else has. Even if you get what they have, you’ll only end up longing for something else. It’s an endless cycle. Be thankful with what you have and you’ll find more contentment in life. God says to praise Him in all things. This praise is the key to thankfulness and peace.
- Christ — Jesus is the core of contentment in all Christians and those who would seek true contentment. Our circumstances are ever-changing, but Jesus is greater than our circumstances. He is unchangeable and unshakeable. When we rest our hope in Him, our circumstances no longer dictate our peace or happiness. We can be content in the unchanging love and protection of Jesus regardless of what is happening in our day to day lives.
At Unfiltered Radio, we believe Jesus is bigger than all circumstances. He is unchanging and gives constant peace and stability in our lives that nothing else ever could. We hope you can cling to Jesus and grow to experience true contentment in your life.