What’s the secret to contentment?
The key to finding satisfaction and contentment in your life
Contentment is something that lots of people want. It means happiness, being at ease with who you are and what you have, and total comfort with your life.
It sounds great, doesn’t it! So how do I get it?
Well, I decided to Google “The secret of contentment” to find out what the Internet thinks the answer is.
A blog said…
“The secret of contentment is to live the life you want to live. It must be your authentic life, not a copy of anyone else's. The secret is to find what you're passionate about and to carefully weave that into your life. The secret is to think carefully about what makes you truly happy, and then live a life that reflects that.”
A psychology website said…
“The secret is to learn to value ourselves on our own terms, unconditionally. What this means is that we make our own choices about what our priorities in life are, what our values are and what rules to live by.”
Both very interesting! But what I found overwhelming was that all the search results for the “secret to contentment” at some point ended up quoting the Bible! It seems that somehow people realise that God holds the key to finding contentment!
What the Bible says about contentment
In Philippians 4:11-13, New Testament missionary and writer Paul writes… “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
At this point in his life, Paul was in jail for spreading the gospel. And yet, he says that he is content in every situation, including while he is in jail!
How can I find contentment?
How can it be the case that Paul is always content? Well, Paul says in verse 13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
This verse is often misunderstood. I used to misunderstand it! I think the first time I can remember it going through my head was when I was in year 3, on camp, and I went rock climbing for the first time. I was totally terrified, but I kept repeating that verse all the way up and back down.
Now I know that this verse means so much more than just God will help me rock climb. It means that the most difficult things, including being content in God when times are tough, are possible through his strength.
Paul was content because he knew that through his imprisonment, God was being glorified and his will was being done. When his life was about God’s glory and relying on God’s strength, Paul was able to be content in all situations.
So what’s the secret to contentment? When your life is about more than just your desires, your priorities and your wellbeing, and becomes about God’s glory, then you, like Paul, will find true contentment in the knowledge of God’s goodness in all circumstances.