Bible Studies for Life

with Don Schuman

Sunday,  September 15

The Key to Contentment

Philippians 4:10-20

Right thinking leads to right attitudes. After pointing out the right things to think about in Philippians 4:8-9, the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, shows us the right attitudes in verses 10-20. An attitude of contentment is what powerfully distinguishes the Christian from the world. I personally believe that it was Stephen’s steadfast attitude of confidence and contentment in the Lord that most convicted Saul of Tarsus. Only after he met the Lord himself did Paul understand and develop this right attitude himself. Contentment is part of spiritual maturity, and Philippians 4:10-20 shows us the key to contentment.

Philippians 4:10-14. See God’s hand at work. Acknowledge the strength and provision of God. Some people worry that there will come a time when they might lose everything. Not Joseph. Not Job. Not Paul. Paul had lost everything; in fact, he had given up everything so that he might obtain Christ. Yet he could abound when he had nothing. What an appropriate example for us today. Could we be content if we lost everything tomorrow? Could we also like Joseph say, “God meant it for good!”? Could we like Job say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”?

May we begin the day and continue through the day knowing that Christ is our strength. He gives us strength to say no to buying stuff we do not need. He gives us strength to say no to spending beyond our means, or as many preachers have put it: “to spend money we do not have for things we do not need to impress people we do not like.” Christ is our strength in all things. We need to trust His riches and not trust our own.

Philippians 4:15-18. Open your hand from God’s provision. Giving is not a subject to cringe over. It is a subject to rejoice over! It is not a subject from which we shy away, but which to draw near. God calls His people to a higher standard than that of the world and that includes giving. This higher standard is not to harm us, but to help us. This higher standard helps us to be more like Christ, who gave His all for God the Father and for us. A summary of these verses might be an acrostic on the word give: giving glorifies God (v. 18), invites God’s blessings (v. 19), verifies godly values (v. 17), and expresses godly love (vv. 14-16). The Philippians gave to support God’s work through Paul because they loved him and the Lord. I have never met anyone who could outgive God.

Philippians 4:19-20. Place your hand in His hand. After Paul was converted, he was able to say, “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel” (Acts 20:33). He had learned to be content. Paul had learned that a righteous relationship with God through Jesus Christ met his greatest need and was the key to great contentment. Do we see such a faith relationship with Christ as our greatest need and source of true contentment?

Christian brothers and sisters, do you believe that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength? Test your faith and prove His strength this week. Do something for His honor and glory that you know you cannot do in your own strength. I do not know how God might lead your heart, but here are some ways God has given strength to those surrendered to Him and content in Him:

(1) Share the gospel with someone you could not share in your own strength.

(2) Give an offering that you could not give in your own strength.

(3) Forgive someone whom you could not forgive in your own strength.

(4) Give up some habit you could not give up in your own strength.

The key to contentment comes through Christ alone. If we really want to become spiritually strong, we must learn to rely on the power of Jesus Christ in us and not in our own ability. We must depend on His perfect strength. We must be where He will make us stronger. We must pray, confessing that we do not have the strength in ourselves and asking humbly for that strength that only comes through Jesus Christ. We must depend upon His strength and exercise his strength in us. Only then can we truly say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Schuman is pastor of Temple Church, Myrtle.