The SECRET of Being Content
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)
Being content with life’s circumstances is certainly not an easy task. At times, advertisements on TV offer multiple suggestions for things we need to buy or show us the latest trends that we do not want to miss out on. Whenever we access social media platforms, we are constantly bombarded with highlights of people’s relationships, possessions, achievements, events they are attending, or vacation destinations that make us wish we were there. Also, among young women, there is the tendency to compare our physical features to those of celebrities and be left with despair when we feel like we do not meet the beauty standards.
One truth I have learned from comparisons and harbouring envy in my heart is that it robs me of joy and peace. In the book of Genesis, we have seen Cain envious of his younger brother’s offering, which led him to bear the consequences of his sin. Meanwhile, Rachel was devastated as watched her older sister Leah bear children to her husband, Jacob. Through these examples, we know that comparisons will drive us away from experiencing full contentment in our lives, especially in our walk with Jesus. Upon praying and reflection, here are some biblical implications I have practiced to discover the secret of being content.
- Dwell in the sweet presence of Jesus
As someone in a season of singleness, there were times when it was difficult for me to scroll through my Instagram and wondered when it would be my turn to have a life partner with whom I will go into ministry and do life. Seeing my friends’ engagement photos or their growing family made me feel like I was behind in checking off life events. I soon realized that marriage is a godly desire, but it’s not the only thing life has to offer. Our identity and purpose are designed by our Almighty God. Hence, our first and greatest calling will always be a relationship with Him.
I always find comfort in Psalms 23:1-3 (NIV) which says, ”The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake”. This statement by David, “I lack nothing” and Apostle Paul’s “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” are parallel in saying that when we have Jesus, we have all we need.
They both highlight a great dependence on God and remind us to remain close with our Heavenly Father, who provides and cares for us. He knows exactly what we need and when to meet our needs. He is a wonderful author of our story, and it would be fruitless to compare ours to others. He has crafted our lives to be authentic and yields to endowed us with various gifts, so it is best to seek His guidance in our day-to-day lives.
I have seen how the path of wanting to gain control over my life has led me to frustration and dissatisfaction. Discontentment is often rooted in insecurity within us. I thought I could find contentment through affirmations and affections from a significant other. However, it dawned on me that searching for love from mere human is not going to make me feel whole and complete. I have learned that only Jesus can fill that void in my heart, and He knows exactly how to make me feel seen, heard, and loved. His grace has led me to repentance, and His mercy compelled me to put my trust in Him alone. There’s no better feeling than realizing that our Saviour wants to give us not only security in our eternal life, but also an abundance of joy despite our current circumstances.
- Practice Gratitude
Rather than coveting for the achievements or possessions of others, I believe that it is important for us to thank God for what He has entrusted us with. Psalms 103:1-4 reminds us to “praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the LORD, 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,” I feel that this applies to all areas of life, even in ministry. It’s so easy for us to buy into the lies of the spiritual enemy that our testimony or prayers are not good enough; or that we are not doing enough to meet our financial needs or fulfill our roles as a woman. The list goes on, but we need to be able to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Instead, Apostle Paul encourages us in Philippians 4 to “learn the secret of being content”. Learning often takes effort, practice, and discipline. This means that for us to stop comparing ourselves and avoid buying into the lies, we need to make an effort to praise God in all circumstances. Perhaps it is through singing songs of worship, committing ourselves to proclaim three things you’re grateful for before bed, or sharing in care groups and in the marketplace all the wonderful deeds God has done in our lives. No matter what that may look like for you, it is imperative that we acknowledge God through all aspects of our lives.
- Flourish in the blessings and calling God has entrusted us with
One of the things I’ve rejoiced over as a single woman is the ability to use this season of my life for ministry without the limitations of time. During my quiet time with God, I remember Him prompting that I am not alone. There are people out there who dwell in loneliness and He wants me to be there to uplift those people. I have the flexibility to spend more time studying the scriptures, make time for one-on-one meetings with my care group members, or to reach out to my co-workers who have yet to know Christ.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Apostle Paul here also encourages us to shift our focus less on the enjoyment in the temporal and physical realm, but to rest our joy in the Kingdom that is unseen and everlasting. The more time we spend abiding in Jesus, the more our desires are transformed to be more like His. We would have compassion for His people and contentment comes when we’ve led someone to Christ, shared the gospel, and exemplified Christ’s characters through our lives. Instead of comparing our lives to others, whom can we encourage, comfort, and speak life to today? What are some ways that you will maintain the joy of walking with Jesus in your everyday life?
Global Women Coordinator
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