Joy is a gift to everyone of us in Christ from the Lord (Galatians 5:22-23). Our joy is lost the moment we take our eyes off of Christ and put them on lesser things. One of the main reasons we lose our joy is we become discontent and in doing that we forget our God is sovereign and in control of all the circumstances of our lives.
Contentment in the Greek term means to be self-sufficient, to be satisfied or to have enough. In the verse above Paul had learned how to be spiritually content. Paul trusted in God's provision for his life.
Did you catch that above? Paul had learned to be spiritually content. Where did he learn it? Through the working of the Holy Spirit within him and in God's wonderful classroom of life. Everything he needed was sufficient in Christ and Paul applied that to the circumstances of his life.
Can you say, I don't care if I have little or I don't care if I have much all I care is that I have God? We are in a world that is overtaken by material possessions. I have been given much and my needs are more than met by the Lord but I am learning that can be a dangerous place too because we easily forget our need for the Lord.
So how can we learn to be content as Paul did so we will not lose our joy amidst all the various trials and circumstances that will come about in our lives?
First, we will never be content if we buy into the lie of what the world's system tells us we need. We can never attain all things and there will always be something else where we can find ourselves saying, “if only I had”. The “if only” syndrome can go on all the days of our lives here on this temporal earth and they will never all be met. We have forgotten God's providence at work in our lives working out all things in our lives for His glory. It's not about us.
Second, you will never be content if you expect others to meet all your needs. It just isn't happening and they can't because they weren't meant to meet all your needs. God is the only one who can meet all your needs. All your needs have been met if you are in Christ.
Third, Paul tells us above he has learned to be content in whatever circumstance. In little or in abundance. Paul has learned to be independent from his circumstances. You would not find him complaining of being a victim of his circumstances as so many do in our world today.
How did the apostle Paul do this? He kept his eye on the prize. He looked to the eternal over the temporal. He set his mind on things above. He counted it all joy to suffer for the sake of Christ. Paul said this light affliction is nothing compared to the glory that is to come.
How can we be content and not lose our joy in this life in the midst of all circumstances? Trust in the providence of God and His sovereign work in and through your life through all things.
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
A friend in Pennsylvania wrote, “One of my father's old cows gives good milk, but she sure can be dumb! She has a whole field in which to feed, yet no grass seems quite as tasty as those patches outside her own pasture. I often see her stretching her head through the fence, while right behind her is everything she needs—excellent grazing land, beautiful shade trees, a cool, refreshing stream of water, and even a big chunk of salt. What more could she want?”Many people are like that old cow. They think the “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” They are constantly grasping, coveting, and seeking to obtain what doesn't belong to them.If you are a Christian, the greatest blessings in life are already yours. Heaven is your home, and God is your Father. He has promised never to leave you (Heb. 13:5), and He will supply your every need (Phil. 4:19). How green the grass is on your side of the fence!
~ R. W. De Haan