What does the Bible say about Contentment?
Contentment can be defined as the state of being happy and satisfied with one’s current situation in life. Contentment is being happy and satisfied with what you have and with whatever circumstance you are experiencing in life.
In Philippians 4:11-13 Paul says: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Paul says that he has learnt to be content in any situation; whether in a state of abundance or in a state of need; whether in good circumstances or in low situations, the attitude of contentment has been one of Paul’s dominant characteristics.
2 Corinthians 12:10 says: For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
According to Scripture, contentment is a lifestyle. The Bible teaches that an attitude of contentment must remain consistent in our lives regardless of our circumstances.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 says: Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
Today’s world is vehemently opposed to a culture of contentment. In this world we are constantly driven to want more; to seek more; to buy more; to have more – but not for the sake of Christ or godliness – but all for personal, selfish and prideful reasons.
However what are the benefits of godliness with contentment? Why does God encourage us to be content in every circumstance?
5 Benefits of Contentment
1. Contentment teaches us to be thankful and count our blessings. When we are always focused on wanting more things, we have little time to appreciate the things we currently have. A discontented lifestyle makes us unthankful and unappreciative of the blessings God has already given us.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
2. Contentment helps avoid the idolatry of money. Discontentment can lead to the love of money. There is always the deception that the more money we have, the more content we will become. However, the desire for more money can lead to all kinds of evil and money does not always bring happiness.
1 Timothy 6:8-10 says: But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Hebrews 13:5 says: Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
3. Contentment teaches us to avoid covetousness and comparisons. When we have an attitude of always comparing ourselves with other people this may lead to discontentment and covetous behavior. However we should not measure the quality of our life by our material possessions and nor by comparing ourselves with others.
In Luke 12:15 Jesus says: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
4. Contentment teaches us to avoid worry and anxiety. To be content means that we put our total trust in God to provide us with all that we need. When we are content, we realize that God is our true source for all our needs, whether those needs be material, emotional or spiritual.
In Matthew 6:25 Jesus tell us not be worried about “what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
Philippians 4:19 says: And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
5. Contentment helps us realize that the things of this world are temporary. We brought nothing into this world and certainly we will take nothing with us when we die (1 Timothy 6:7).
We do not live in this world for the sake of amassing or procuring material possessions. Instead what we do on this earth must be with the aim of storing treasures in heaven and not on earth.
In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus said: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Therefore contentment reminds us that we have a heavenly purpose and we must be heavenly minded as we live our daily life.
Contentment is a lifestyle. It is a virtue that must be displayed in both good and bad circumstances. Contentment reveals that we fully trust in God as our true source for every need and not the systems of this world. Contentment keeps us focused on being appreciative and thankful for all that God is doing in our life. It also keeps us humble so that we realize that no material possession in this world lasts forever.