“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 in abundance or in need” (Philippians 4:11-12). If there is one virtue that is slowly going ‘out of fashion’ is the art of being content. The idea in the world system is that to be great individually or as an organization, such would need to continually push boundaries and refuse to be contented in the place they are in. By so doing, they will produce ‘outstanding’ results in the marketplace. Herein lies the dilemma: If a system produces great results, why can’t it be adopted into the Body of Christ, a friend recently argued? This argument came as a result of a teaching that the lessons learnt in the business world can be cascaded into our private lives in order to enhance especially areas of our lives noted to be weak. As wonderful as this argument may sound, we must be discerning to understand that there are some principles of the world that look seemingly right but negates the principles of the Kingdom of God. The principles of the world leads to self-gratification, as it has at its core the need to be better than the next thing or person, hence the ‘rat-race to be the best or the first’, but this is negated by the Scriptures: “But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and lie in defiance of the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but it is earthly, sensual, demonic” (James 3: 14-15). On the other hand, the teachings of God, when learnt and adhered to, steers us away from paths that are earthy and fleshy into holy living, a path of righteousness: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
From the reference in Philippians 4: 11-12, it is clear that contentment, in fact, anything that is good and godly does not flow naturally from man; it must be learnt! If it was natural, we would not be encouraged to make every effort to walk as Christ did: “For this reason, make every effort to…” (2Peter 1:5a). The idea that we should ‘make every effort’, tells us that the virtues enumerated in 2Peter 1:5-7 must be learnt or we would be deceiving ourselves. It is foolishness and a lie from hell to assume that since you are born again, these virtues will automatically grow in you; even Jesus Christ our Lord: “Though a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). It is easy and natural for man to be selfish, disobedient, blindly ambitious, proud, arrogant, false and the likes but it takes the Spirit of God and courage to produce goodness, knowledge (knowing Christ as He should be known), self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love (2Peter 1:5-7). Beloved, don't get me wrong, it is good to ‘hustle’ but your hustling must not take you out of the Presence of God into darkness.
Sadly, most Christian families are in disarray today because spouses and children have not learnt the art of contentment. The reason you have a roving eye and you constantly compare your spouse, your home and your life to another is because you are yet to learn contentment; the resultant effect is that your children are never satisfied with what they have either. It’s a matter of time they too like you will begin to envy those they feel are better than them, and equally begin to look for means to bridge the gap. Husbands and wives be contented with your spouse – allow them to satisfy you. As long as you keep comparing him/her to what you had or could have, you will never be satisfied with him/her. Married or single, in all things, if you keep looking back, the enemy will continue to show you how dissatisfied you are and give you ample opportunities to try your thoughts out: “If they had been remembering that land they came from, they would have had opportunity to return” (Hebrews 11:15). Beloved, contentment cannot be wished upon or prayed to be bestowed, it must be learnt! God bless you!