Contentment

What is contentment?

Discussion: What do you understand by the word "contentment"?

The word "content" is actually the same word translated "sufficiency".

1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV) But godliness with contentment is great gain.

2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (NKJV)

2 Cor 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Therefore, to be content is to believe that what we have is sufficient and not to grumble and complain that we should have more.

Why is contentment so important?

The Bible tells us that contentment is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV) But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Not only that, discontentment leads to all kinds of sins. The very first temptation in the history of mankind is a temptation to be discontent.

Genesis 3:5­6 (NIV) "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

When Satan tempted Jesus, he tried to make Him discontented over His lack of food.

Matthew 4:2­3 (NIV) After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

One of the ten commandments

God saw it appropriate to include covetousness as one of the prohibitions in the ten commandments.

Exo 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

How to have contentment?

Trust that God will provide whatever is necessary

Philippians 4:11­13 (NIV) I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

While Paul is under extreme persecution, he could still be content because he believes that God will give him all that is necessary to carry him through.

Shift our emphasis on what God has given us rather on what we lack

Gen 3:5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (NIV)

Eve was discontented over the one fruit she could not eat and forgot about all the rest that she could eat.

Num 16:8­10 8 Moses also said to Korah, "Now listen, you Levites! 9 Isn't it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the LORD's tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. (NIV)

Acknowledge the fact that we deserve much less than what God has already given us

As a sinner, we actually deserve death from God but because of His mercy, He has given us eternal life and all other things. Isn't this already having more than we deserve.

Psalms 131 (NIV) A song of ascents. Of David. My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Galatians 5:26 (NIV) Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

1 Tim 6:6­8 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (NIV)

Contentment grows when our priorities are right

Psalms 119:36­37 (NIV) Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things....

Heb 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (NIV)

Believe that what God has withheld is actually no good for us

Psalms 34:10 (KJV) The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

Matthew 7:9­11 (KJV) Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Commonly asked questions
Is it wrong to grumble before the Lord?

Yes

Num 16:41 The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. "You have killed the LORD's people," they said. (NIV)

Num 16:49 But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. (NIV)

Does it mean that if we should be content and do nothing about our present circumstances?

No

The Bible is not a killer of ambition. In fact, it encourages us to strive for a better life.

1 Corinthians 7:21 (NIV) Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you ­­although if you can gain your freedom, do so.

While we should work hard for our ambition, we are not to be troubled in the meantime.

Practical application

1. Examine one area of our life where we have been discontented. It could be in the area of possessions, money, social life, illnesses, trials, persecutions, etc.

2. Share on why we are discontented.

3. Meditate on how we can be more contented.

4. Ask God to forgive us and help us to be content.

For example:
1. I am not contented about my job because the pay is too little.

2. The reason why I am discontented is because I feel that I deserve a higher pay based on my ability.

3. I will learn to be more contented because now I understand that what God gave me is already more than I deserve. I should be thankful instead of grumbling. Also, I believe that despite the low pay, it is sufficient because God promises to provide my every need.

4. I will ask for God's forgiveness and ask Him to remind me of those things every time I start to become discontented.