Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
Learn to Be Content
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  • Learn to be Content

    What makes you happy?
    Do you know what it’s like to be content?
    Here’s a conundrum:
    “If you’re chasing happiness, you’ll never be content.” And...
    “If you learn to be content, you’ll find happiness.”
    The Apostle Paul learned to be content. It did not come natural for him any more than it does for us.
    Paul’s contentment was in Christ. It was not conditional upon any circumstance. This was not self-help that Paul was practicing. He had come to know and love Jesus. Jesus was all He needed. That is why he says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Christ has strengthened Paul to be content.
    Let’s take a look at our text this morning.
    Philippians 4:10–13 NKJV
    10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
    In verse 10 we see Paul trusted in the overruling providence of God. This is the working of God in advance to arrange circumstances and situations for the fulfilling of His purposes.
    God in His providence had caused the church at Philippi to become concerned about Paul’s needs. And it came at the very time Paul needed their love the most.
    They had been concerned, but they had lacked the opportunity to help. Many Christians today have the opportunities, but they lack the concern!
    Verse 11 - Paul is quick to let his friends know that he is not complaining! His happiness does not depend on circumstances or things; his joy comes from something deeper, something apart from either poverty or prosperity.
    The word “content” actually means “contained.” It is a description of the man whose resources are within him so that he does not have to depend on substitutes without. The Greek word means “self-sufficient” and was a favorite word of the stoic philosophers.
    But the Christian is not sufficient in himself; he is sufficient in Christ. Because Christ lives within us, we are adequate for the demands of life.
    The world we live in tells us we need many things to make us happy.
    We need more money. We need better health. We need a bigger and nicer and newer house. We need a newer car. We need a different spouse. We need a different church. And these are all lies! These things don’t make us happy. Initially, they might bring a temporary happiness but once the new wears off, we wish we had something else.
    It’s like this poem I found:
    It was spring, but it was summer I wanted, the warm days, and the great outdoors.
    It was summer, but it was fall I wanted, the colorful leaves, and the cool dry air.
    It was fall, but it was winter I wanted (what?) the beautiful snow, and the joy of the holidays.
    It was winter, but it was spring I wanted, the warmth and the blossoming of nature.
    I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted, the freedom and the respect.
    I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted, to be mature and sophisticated.
    I was middle aged, but it was 20 I wanted, the youth and the free spirit.
    I was retired, but it was middle I wanted, the presence of mind without limitations.
    My life was over. But I never got what I wanted.
    That describes a lot of us.
    With God’s help, we can learn to be content in our standing in Christ.
    In these short verses we learn a few things about contentment from the Apostle Paul. And these are great lessons to learn. First.

    Learn to Be Content in the Place You’re In

    Philippians 4:11–12 NKJV
    11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
    He said “in whatever situation he was in” in verse 11 and verse 12 says “In any and every circumstance”
    What was Paul’s situation? What was his circumstance? It was prison. He was not being content in a 5-star hotel or a cruise ship. He was content in prison, chained to a Roman guard.
    So many people think if they could just relocate, they would be content. If they could switch churches, they would be content. If you find a perfect church, don’t join it. You will mess it up.
    Some people think if they could work for a different company, they would be content. If they could move somewhere out of this south Louisiana heat and humidity, they could be content.
    When our contentment is in Christ, we don’t have to be in a different place to be happy.
    An airline pilot was flying over the Tennessee mountains and pointed out a lake to his copilot. “See that little lake?” he said. “When I was a kid I used to sit in a rowboat down there, fishing. Every time a plane would fly overhead, I’d look up and wish I was flying it. Now I look down and wish I was in a rowboat, fishing.”
    Paul had a long litany of adverse and horrible experiences.
    In the midst of all these things Paul had learned how to be content.
    Do you think God could be using your trials to teach you to find your contentment in Him?
    Do you feel stuck? Paul could identify. But in feeling stuck, Paul learned to be content.
    You don’t need a different place to be content. You just need Jesus. Find your joy in Him. A different place will not satisfy you. Only Jesus will!

    Learn to Be Content With the Possessions You Have

    Philippians 4:12 NKJV
    12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
    Paul knew how to live in good times as well as in bad. In Philippians 4:12 he used the word “abound” as he described his contentment in times of plenty. Abound means “more than enough.” It is probable that Paul grew up in a moderately affluent home, and even after his conversion he had experienced God’s abundant provision for his needs.
    When they were starting the church at Philippi, Paul and his associates were entertained at the home of Lydia, who was a prominent wealthy woman (Acts 16:15, 40).
    But for Paul it really didn’t matter whether he was feasting or fasting. He had learned how to be content.
    There was once a man named Danny Simpson who at the age of 24 robbed a bank at gunpoint in Canada. He robbed the bank of $6,000. Shortly after, he was captured. When they found the weapon he had used to rob the bank, it was a 1918 45 Calibur semi-automatic Colt and it was worth $100,000. Danny’s problem is he didn’t know what he had in that gun. If he had known how valuable that gun was, he would have never robbed that bank.
    Many Christians are like Danny. They have Christ, but they don’t recognize how valuable Christ is. They think getting more and more money and things will make them content, but they already have what they need in Jesus.
    Having food and clothing let us be content. We do not need more money or things to be content.
    We all have a hard time differentiating between “needs” and “wants”. Virtually everything has become a “need.” Studies show the more money people have, the less content they tend to be.
    Jesus had promised, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). All these things refers to what you shall eat, what you shall drink, what you shall wear (6:25). Jesus was teaching that if we will put our focus on serving Him and growing in righteousness, God will take care of our basic material needs.
    Money can buy you a bed, but not sleep. It can buy you books, but not wisdom; it can buy a house, but not a home; it can buy food, but not an appetite; it can buy amusements, but not friends. It can buy you about anything but salvation.

    Learn to Be Content With the Provisions in Your Life

    Philippians 4:10–12 NKJV
    10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
    Paul was content with the providence of God in his life.
    Throughout this text, you see Paul trusting in the sovereignty and providence of God. Paul knew God was in control of his circumstances.
    At the heart of Christian contentment is a strong belief that God is in control.
    Romans 8:28 says “All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose.” God is working everything to accomplish His purpose.
    Those who seek to control their own lives will constantly be frustrated.
    We must yield to the control of God and let Him be in control. His plan is far greater than ours. God providentially arranged for Joseph to rise to a high position in Egypt to preserve His people. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph said to his brothers, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good that many people may be kept alive.”
    Proverbs 16:9 says “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Paul understood that and it taught him to be content.
    Let me ask you again. What makes you happy?
    Do you know what it’s like to be content?
    “If you’re chasing happiness, you’ll never be content.” And...
    “If you learn to be content, you’ll find happiness.”
    Let’s learn to be content in Christ.
      • Philippians 4:10–13NKJV

      • Philippians 4:11–12NKJV

      • Philippians 4:12NKJV

      • Philippians 4:10–12NKJV

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