The lesson in discontentment

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I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. Phil. 4:11-13

For the next few weeks, I’m going to write a series on contentment. I should probably go ahead and tell you this up front – I can’t honestly say, like Paul, that I have learned to be content in every circumstance. I can say that I’m learning. I can say that I know where contentment is found. But I can’t say that I am always content.

I find myself dissatisfied far too often to pretend that I am.

Paul said there’s a secret to contentment. And then He said that secret is Jesus (v. 13). So we have to conclude that if we claim to follow Christ, and still find ourselves unfulfilled and frustrated with our circumstances, then we had better put our ears to the ground.

There is always a lesson in discontentment.

Sometimes God uses our discontent to get us where He wants us to go. Other times, it’s meant to let us know that we need to let go of something, make a change, follow in a step of obedience, or trust Him more.

But always, always, discontentment is meant to remind us that He is enough.

When Paul wrote that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him, he wasn’t talking about nailing a presentation at work, knocking in the game winning run, passing the LSAT, or running a marathon. He was talking about being okay with it when none of those things work out. He was talking about being satisfied in Christ when you don’t have any fun pictures or life events to post on Facebook. He was talking about being content, even when life stinks and doesn’t turn out like you thought it would.

Are you discontented about something? A relationship? A circumstance? A pursuit? Your life as a whole? It is very much like God to use those things to remind us what really matters in life. So put your ear to the ground, listen, and learn – the secret is Jesus.


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