By contrast, Paul speaks in Philippians 4 of being content when he is needy and when he has abundance, when he is low and when he abounds. Paul faced difficult circumstances and, yet, learned contentment. This fact and a recent sermon give me hope that I can make progress in being a student of contentment.
Some women I know express lofty expectations for life. They often seem disappointed, especially with their husbands. I secretly label them as "high maintenance." At this point, I am being self-righteous. In my deepest thoughts, I, too, express unbelief. First, I need to take the speck out of my own eye. (Luke 6:42)
Furthermore, I am learning that God does not want me to have a stoic approach to life. For example, living a contented life does not rule out praying and working for positive change in my ministry, finances or relationships. In addition, I can make my needs known to others. Paul did this. A true test of learning contentment is what I do when circumstances do not change, and I don't get what I want. Do I continue to trust God then? (Job 13:15)
The main emphasis of my life should be conforming to God's will. I am not a prisoner of my circumstances or felt needs; they don't drive or control me. I may see my life as terrible and elevate comfort as my goal. At this point, I am making an idol of my circumstances. Instead, I need to be a prisoner of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:1)
It is scary to trust God because the future is wildly unpredictable. I don't always know what to expect when serving God in my ministry, but I am not left alone. I know that the Gospel of the triune God will strengthen me in every situation to do His will. May I dwell gladly in what He sends. (Isaiah 41:10, Philippians 4:13)
Of equal importance is the cultivation of contentment in pleasant circumstances. The Bible warns about forgetting about God when things are going well. I need to express gratitude to Him for what I am given. (Deuteronomy 8: 11-20)
Learning contentment is hard work, and I am a reluctant student. But, I pray that I may glorify God by learning my lessons well.
Many of the ideas in this posting come from "Secret of Contentment," a sermon delivered on 10-14-12 by Rev. Brad Evans. It is available on Sermonaudio.com with this sermon ID 1017121128354.