Paul makes an astounding statement in Philippians 4:12-13, he says “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.”
Paul is telling us that he has learned to be content no matter what! Meaning for Paul contentment is outside his circumstances. This is a counter cultural thesis. See, contentment does not come naturally for people, by nature we are a restless people. Augustine prayed to God, “you formed us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.” Paul said he has ‘learned’ to be content, implying that contentment is something we ‘learn’ as a believer and does not come naturally. The first step in learning to be content is to realize the cardinal truth Jesus gives us in Luke 12:15, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” In America it’s considered a tragedy to “die penniless.” I have driven through some expensive neighborhoods in America, I have seen over-the-top, beautiful homes with beach views, and most of the time the real owners are never around to enjoy them. They, like most people, get overwhelmed with the desire to acquire and this desire ruins their relationships, peace of mind, and their entire life. That is where the bible teaches us that the greatest things in life aren’t things.
I have yet to meet a person who asked for things in the final moments of their life. They have always asked for people, because eventually life will bring all of us to a point when we realize that life is all about relationships. Jesus asks a very pertinent question in Mark 16:26, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”
Life is about relationships. Paul says his contentment is sourced in Jesus Christ. Real contentment comes with our right relationship with God. When we put God first – seeking to please Him, we will have godly priorities and godly priorities lead to true contentment no matter what. Paul is saying contentment is the product of a heart resting in God. If our heart is resting in anything outside God, we will continue to be a restless and busy generation. Is your heart resting in God?