How To Be Content

Author: Bruce W. Roeser

Updated: 10/26/14

It has been said that becoming a saint doesn’t make your flesh any better.  This is true, however what is there that can set a saint apart from the world as it falls apart?

In the present dispensation - since there are no signs and wonders being performed by God on the behalf of his saints (I.E. when was the last time you saw ‘God’s’ people being led by a pillar of fire?), what's left to separate the saints from the rest of humanity?

The following section of Philippians gives us a glimpse of one key aspect of the true Saint of God.  The aspect that is in focus here is that of contentment.  Let's have a look at the section then take it apart bit-by-bit.  Keep in mind, however, that even a saved person can choose to ignore these instructions even though he has the power to use them.

Philippians 4:5-13  Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  9  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.  10  But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

V5: Let your moderation be known unto all men.

As Saints of the Most High we are to behave with a moderate style.  What does that mean? Simply this: we are to be stable.  People need to be able to look at us and see the stability that we have in the face of all the instability that is so prevalent around us.  We are to be consistent in our behavior.  We don't want to be viewed like the following:

James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Rather, part of our moderation is to be observed in the way we speak and conduct ourselves.

Eph 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

By “corrupt communication” Paul is not particularly concerned about the use of “4-letter-words” (though that’s a sign of a weak mind!).  Paul is referring to any communication that would be un-edifying to your listeners.  It’s not at all different to the phrase you may have said: “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all”.

V6-7: Be careful for nothing … I.E. don't worry.

This is a tough one to actually put into practice - however cultivating the ability to do so can have a tremendous impact on the people around you.  The mature saint of God is literally to be in communication with the Lord through prayer on all matters of concern - then the worry factor is to be removed from it.  This is not saying that God is going to solve your problems for you - this is saying that he has equipped you with the information necessary to know how to deal with those problems.  Worrying as an activity produces absolutely nothing but stress and solves nothing.  Ever heard the phrase “It won't matter 100 years from now”? The problem when we worry is that things will not go the way we want them to.

If we get ourselves into a state of worry over something, then we have lost the big picture. We have forgotten that no matter what we are going through at the time it is temporary. Read the following:

Rom 4:5-7

Eph 1:1-14

V8: “A Mind is a terrible thing to waste”.

Paul makes a specific point here of directing the saints to keep their minds on GOOD stuff. Ever hear the phrase “GIGO” … that's “Garbage In, Garbage Out”.  An old computer term; and just as relevant today as it ever has been.   One of the key components of contentment is the state of your mind.

2Ti 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

V9: Follow Paul's Example.

Paul is stepping out on a long limb and making a bold claim here - that he is to be an example and we are to follow that example.   Note what he did not say here!  (WWJD!).  

1Ti 1:15-16  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

V10-13: Being content no matter what.

Paul is making a clear point here that contentment is not to be based on the situation that you are presently living in.  It is not to be based on where you are as compared with someone else.   The following deals with being content with your situation.  Does this mess with anyone's present attitude?

1Ti 6:6-8

Frustration (Lack of Contentment) – what causes it?

Aside from the fact that failure to observe the above can result in lack of contentment, let’s look at a few specific causes of frustration.

· Our Priorities are out-of-whack: (Mat 6:19-34) – This is fairly transdispensational if only in attitude.

· Spiritual Battle. (Eph 6:10-20) – or rather lack of participation in it.  Are we participating in the battle or have we laid down our sword altogether?  A definite lack of contentment can develop if we don’t feel like we’re doing what we should.  This could be equated with self-guilt, though “guilt” is self-inflicted in this situation.

· Living in the flesh. (Gal 5:16-26)

· Covetousness (Luk 12:15, Rom 1:29, Eph 5:3-5) Note in that last one that the ‘giving of thanks’ is mentioned.  If you are in a covetous frame-of-mind it is impossible to be in a thankful or content frame-of-mind at the same time.


How can we cultivate the attitude of contentment?