“I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11)
What is contentment? The Greek word autarkes means “sufficient/strong.” Our Lord uses the related Greek verb arkeomai when He encourages Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that “my grace is sufficient for thee.” Peter covers contentment’s sufficiency in 2 Peter 1:3 by reminding believers that we have been given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” with the words “all things” placed at the front of the verse for emphasis. So, why are we sometimes discontent even with all these spiritual and physical resources at our disposal?
Contentment is learned. Charles Spurgeon says of contentment, “It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually.” In other words, besides salvation (which is an instantaneous event), precious qualities in the Christian experience are cultivated.
When Paul finally mastered the art of contentment, it was only after the refiner’s fire of hardship had conditioned him for the serious trial he was then experiencing as a forgotten prisoner in Nero’s dirty dungeon. “Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
As Spurgeon concludes, “Brother and sister, hush that complaint, as natural as it is, and continue as a diligent scholar in the College of Content.” Knowing the secret of contentment and proving the sufficiency of Christ against the demands of life are challenging tasks for the believer, but take heart! You can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). CM
Days of Praise Podcast is a podcast based on the Institute for Creation Research quarterly print devotional, Days of Praise. Start your day with devotional readings written by Dr. Henry Morris, Dr. Henry Morris III, Dr. John Morris, and others to strengthen and encourage you in your Christian faith.