Consider Philippians 4:11: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” What does it mean to be content? And how can we do this in whatever situation?
In this verse, the adjective “content” is combined from two words, the pronoun for “self” and the verb “to be enough.” So, in a sense, we might say that Paul found contentment in himself… but only as he knew he was in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ was in him. Looking more closely at Philippians 3 and 4, like Paul, we should know that…
Our contentment is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
Multiple times Paul speaks of knowing Christ in Philippians 3. Rather than having all that he described in Philippians 3:4–6, he “counted” it all “as loss for the sake of Christ” and “because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7–8). He only wanted to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10).
Our contentment is found in our position in Jesus Christ.
Building upon the previous thought, to know Christ is to know Him by faith and is to have His righteousness granted to us (Philippians 3:9). Our position or standing in this life will never give us lasting happiness. Only knowing Christ and finding God’s approval in Him is what gives us true contentment.
Our contentment is found in the power in Jesus Christ.
The verse originally quoted above is described Paul as being content in “whatever situation.” This situation could be when one is “low” or able “to abound,” have “plenty” or “hunger,” and enjoy “abundance” or suffer “need” (Philippians 4:12). Whether one or the other, neither set of circumstances granted or took Paul’s joy: “In any and every circumstance, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Earlier Paul said that he wanted to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). Paul’s contentment was not just knowing Christ and His righteousness, but also knowing His power and strength to get through any circumstance in life.
Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you have His righteousness by faith? Do you walk by His power through whatever circumstances the Lord has given you? If not, you will never be content. But if you know Christ, His righteousness, and His power, you will be content both now and forever.
All quotes ESV. Articles by Pastor Huffstutler are at davidhuffstutler.com.