The Secret of Contentment
Micca Monda Campbell

"…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" Philippians 4:11b (NIV)

Have you ever noticed how overextending yourself tends to bring unwanted pressure into your life? I think we tend to busy ourselves in order to gain more, find acceptance among peers, land a better position, and gain riches of all kinds. Perhaps we live under the illusion that having such riches is what makes a person complete, content, and deliriously happy. Yet, when we discover that's not the case, we're left feeling empty and discontent.

Contentment and security are not found in career titles or in the kind of car we own. The logo on our car only tells others what kind of car we drive — not who we are. True satisfaction, in its purest form, is found in the wealth of who God is and the riches He graciously lavishes upon us.

Recently God's been showing me that when I constantly want more than He has given me, it reflects a heart that is discontent. What I'm saying to God is, "I'm not satisfied with what You have provided for me. I want more." In wanting more, I place undo pressure on myself in an attempt to get what God hasn't provided. Naturally, anxiety is the result when I focus on things other than God and His will for my life.

The pressure to have more and do more can lead us down paths we never intended. In our attempt to fill the vacuum of our empty souls, we discover that external luxury is only a cheap substitution for spiritual wholeness. As our key verse points out, Paul knew the secret of finding contentment. "…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."

Take note that Paul wrote these words in a high stress situation as he sat in jail awaiting a verdict for a crime he didn't commit. I don't know if I could find contentment if I were in his sandals. I would probably strum my wooden cage with a rock singing pitifully, "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen. Nobody knows my sorrow." Finding contentment doesn't mean we have to like our current situation, but it may require an appreciation for it. Let me explain.

Paul learned that the fruit of contentment is developed when we are thankful for what God has provided whether we like it or not. That's because peace isn't the absence of pressure. It's the presence of God and our attitude toward His provision in the midst of our stress. By expressing gratitude, Paul experienced richness of being, not having.

I realize you may be in a hard place right now and you're longing for freedom. Maybe you're in a job that feels like a dead end; perhaps you have two of them! It may be that you live in a space too small for your family and you hate it. You're not where you planned or hoped to be and you certainly don't like it.

The truth is, we don't have to like where we are or what we have, but if we will choose to thank God for His provisions regardless of our feelings toward them, we'll experience the same contentment Paul encountered.

We must understand that being thankful doesn't mean that God will eventually remove us from our situation. He may; He may not. Rather, being appreciative sets us free from the desire to have and lets us rest in the riches of contentment. And when we reach a place of contentment, we don't need earthly riches galore. God becomes our greatest treasure. In Him, we have everything we need.

Dear Lord, things could always be worse. I'm grateful for what You've provided for me. Fill me with Your peace so that I may be truly content in Your blessings. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Micca’s blog–Reflections

Today's devotion was taken from Micca’s book, An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than All Your Fears. Order your copy by clicking here.

Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

For encouragement during the tough times, read Surrendering Your Strongholds

Application Steps:
Instead of focusing on what God has not provided, make a list of what He has. Then, thank God for His provision.

Reflections:
Does your heart always long for more than what God has provided?

If so, why and what do you need to do to find contentment?

Power Verses:
Psalm 103:1-5, "Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." (NIV)

© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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12 Comments:

Blogger mommyof2 said...

Good devotion for me! I have been learning that despite my health (and other things) not being exactly what I want, it is as God wants it. He is still with me through all the ups and downs. Plus, he has truly been teaching me about compassion & understanding. Since I realized that my body will probably take a looong time to heal, I have really been able to connect with others who are not well-physically or spiritually. I have found that encouraging others and praying for them is something I can do no matter what my health is like!

By the way, when I read what you said about strumming the bars of your cage with a rock...well that totally made me laugh! I can just see me doing the same thing!

Thanks for the great devotion and the laugh! Have a good day!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

please pray for me to understand this devoition and to apply it in my daily life i need it more than ever. i need strength or my mind will drive me crazy i have a not in my stomach that i can't make go away. please pray for me.
your devotions is exactly where i'm at right now.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said that peace is not the absence of pressure but the Presence of God. So true but sometimes I forget this. Thanks for the reminder. Resting in the peace of His Presence.

Anonymous Anissa said...

I haven't looked at these devotions for a while, but I love how God works. I am leading a study in contentment and today we are talking about "Learning to be Content with out Worrying". We are going over this passage and the 6 verses before it. I love this passage and I am amazed how God continues to use it in so many ways to encourage me to look to Him for my source of strength, and contentment - to be Complete. Thank you Lord!

Blogger Mommy Melback said...

Love this!!!!!
What we all need to stop and think about and put into action.
He has provided all my needs. I need to stop and give thanks for what I have not keep looking at what I want next.

Blogger Nancy M. said...

Reminds me of something my pastor said Sunday, something along the lines of "'If only's' are revolting against God & his providential care" and "Grumbling is loathe for God," or something like that (I can't believe I didn't write it down verbatim). Basically, know your priorities. With God at the center, you know that everything's part of His plan, & knowing that, I was actually at a point of excitement when I lost my job b/c of what God had up His sleeve for me next.

Thank you for another amazing, affirming morning.

I ♥ P31

Blogger kellzbellz_2013 said...

God has been helping me to see that where I am in my life is not where He intends for me to be. Please pray for me to never lost sight of God's will for my life and pray that I will continue to seek after God. I need to be able to stand on my own two feet and to be able to support me and my children. The adversery is always there telling me I can't do it but God's will says I can. I just gave my life to God in December and I need your prayers for strength to overcome and to set my feet on God's path and never look back. I thank God for helping me everyday and I need Him everyday. I appreciate your devotions they are giving me strength to overcome the temptations in my life.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God has been helping me to see that where I am in my life is not where He intends for me to be. Please pray for me to never lost sight of God's will for my life and pray that I will continue to seek after God. I need to be able to stand on my own two feet and to be able to support me and my children. The adversery is always there telling me I can't do it but God's will says I can. I just gave my life to God in December and I need your prayers for strength to overcome and to set my feet on God's path and never look back. I thank God for helping me everyday and I need Him everyday. I appreciate your devotions they are giving me strength to overcome the temptations in my life.

Blogger kellzbellz_2013 said...

your devotions are like a light in a very dark place in my life. pray that i can find a job soon and to be content with what God has provided me right now. peace~

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Becomes Our Greatest Treasure, fill me with Peace. Amen

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for the person with the knot in their stomach. Praising God for His help to you.

OpenID auburnchick said...

This post reminds me of a story Corrie ten Boom told in her book The Hiding Place.

Corrie's family was sent to a concentration camp during WWII. She described the horrible conditions in her sleeping quarters...conditions made much worse by the presence of fleas.

Corrie's family was very Christ-centered, and she and her sister were able to share God's Word to the other ladies in her quarters...uninterrupted. She often wondered why until she learned that the presence of the fleas kept away the guards.

God's provision for His Word to be shared...even in the midst of horrific persecution.

God is SO good...always faithful...never missing a beat when we think He's forgotten about us. And yet, it's not about us, now is it? It's all about Him and His glory.

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