The Peace Found in Contentment
By: Emily Rose Massey
“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” - (Philippians 4:11-12, ESV).
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” This song is ringing through every store, in every restaurant, and following you on your drive home from work. Oh, yes, the holidays are upon us. This can mean many things for you, depending on what has your focus. As Christians, we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this time of year and even if our intention is to keep Christ at the center, especially if our family celebrates Christmas, we can be lead astray very easily with the spirit of consumerism that can often come with this time of year.
As Americans, our culture seems to have a desire for more, more, more, especially when it comes to material things. Even if we don’t need it, if it is on sale, oftentimes, we feel drawn to purchase the item. This mentality seems to be magnified in our society during the holidays. Unfortunately, the infamous Black Friday sales have taken over the entire month of November, and Thanksgiving, a time where we should be reflecting on what we are grateful for, is beginning to take a backseat in our culture. We are becoming consumed with consumerism.
Perhaps it is time to ask ourselves, if we are always seeking and reaching for more, are we truly satisfied in Christ alone? Are we looking to material things, people, or great circumstances to find peace or joy? Are we content with what God has already provided for us?
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he begins to share with the church at Philippi encouragement about learning how to rejoice no matter what is going on in life and gives the people direction in what they need to focus on. In Philippians 4:8, he exhorts: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).
If they would put this into practice, they would experience the peace of God.
As Paul nears the end of his letter to the church at Philippi, he reflects on God’s perfect provision:
“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” (Philippians 4:11-12, ESV).
He ends that thought with the famous verse, proclaiming that he can do all things through Christ that gives him strength. What is most encouraging about this verse is its context: contentment. The secret to finding contentment regardless of circumstance, having plenty or being hungry, that Paul is talking about is Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the One who gives us the strength and ability to remain content no matter what we are experiencing. True contentment is knowing that Jesus alone can satisfy our souls. When we search for fulfillment in things, people, or even our circumstances, we will always come up short.
All of these things we try to fill our lives with aren’t necessarily bad things, but when they become the end goals, and the reason for our being, they become idols in our life. We end up being discontented because those things were never meant to fulfill us. Jesus is the only One who can bring true contentment into our life.
What makes this time of year the most wonderful for you? Take some time to reflect and journal and express your gratitude to the Lord. If you are feeling discontented, ask the Lord to help you find satisfaction and peace in Him alone.
Emily Massey began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20s, and published her first book in 2015. She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma while still being able to pursue her passion as a writer. Believing she has been forgiven much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power, especially by sharing truth found in God’s written word. If you would like to connect with Emily, you can visit www.wewouldratherhavejesus.com.
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