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Jul 14, 2019

The Secrets of Contentment

Passage: Philippians 4:10-13

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Philippians--Roots of Joy

Keywords: joy, jesus christ, contentment, happiness, gratitude, circumstances, reactions

Summary:

Contentment in life is not only often illusive; it is spiritually absolutely vital. Contentment has far more to do with our relationship with Christ than it does our circumstances. This message seeks to help us figure out how to learn to be content in and through every situation of life.

Detail:

Secrets of Contentment

Philippians 4:10-23

July 14, 2019

 

We’re going to talk about contentment today.  So I have a couple of things I want you to do to lead us into a study of our passage in Philippians 4 that talks all about contentment.

#1.  What is the opposite of contentment when it comes to emotions?

#2.  How would you define contentment?

#3.  In your life right now, what are the immediate/presenting circumstances that seem to be robbing you of contentment?  (i.e., what would you like to see change about your life today, if you had the choice?  Another way of saying that is, what do you find frustrating or disappointing in life right now that you wish was different?) 

STORY:  Breakfast out with Andrew when he was in grade school.  We were reading through a book together about dads and sons.  That particular week there were 2 full pages of questions that a young man could, at some time…if he wanted to…ask his dad.  Things like…

  • What was life like for you when you were my age?
  • How did you go about finding out who you are and what you wanted to be?
  • What have you found to be important in friendships?
  • Are you happy or disappointed with the way life has turned out?

But there was one particular question which got me thinking most:

  • What would you have done differently in life knowing what you now know?

Looking back at that particular chapter in my life, there were two things I told Andrew I might have done differently.  One was the undergraduate degree I eventually got and the other was the first “career” or “ministry position” I took coming out of seminary. 

      Now, I don’t think what I actually chose in both cases was wrong.  But choosing slightly differently might have allowed me to be better and more broadly equipped for the kind of ministry I would become convinced later on that God had wired me for.

      But then I began to think, “Where would I be today if those two decisions had been different?”  And I didn’t really like the probable answers to each of those possibilities. 

      First, had I not gotten the undergraduate degree I did (from Multnomah Bible College), I would not have gone to Portland.  That, in turn, would have meant that I would not have met and married the wife I did…and that, in turn, would have meant that I would not have been having that very conversation with that very son that very moment.  None of those possibilities are ones I am in the least bit interested in!

      The second decision about the place of my first ministry looked pretty much the same the more I thought about it.  Had I gone directly into pastoral ministry stateside right out of seminary, I would never have had both the very frustrating and very transforming experience of overseas ministry.  I would probably have failed in ministry.  I would never have been the kind of person I was when I came back stateside 26 years ago.  And I probably would not have taken a pastorate in Spokane…which would never have led to starting Mosaic…and knowing all of you amazing people.  That’s not a preferable scenario in my opinion!

      Now, that doesn’t mean that during the last 35 years, I didn’t want some things to be different in my experience? I did.  And it doesn’t mean I didn’t find certain situations during the past 35 years highly frustrating or deeply disappointing? 

      No, in fact, to my shame, over the last 35 years I could have been caught far too often wishing that life were different, that circumstances were rearranged, that situations were “better” according to my way of thinking.  

      We’ve come to the second-to-the-last message in our series on the book of Philippians.  In today’s text we find that Paul is pulling back the curtain of personal transparency a bit for his much-loved church in Philippi. He’s telling them about his own personal state of emotions and about how he feels in regard to what has happened to him in the 10 years since he last saw them.  In doing so, he reveals to us some of the most important counsel and insight when it comes to finding a satisfying life

Phil. 4:10-13

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 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 all this through him who gives me strength.

REVIEW:  Back in vs. 4, we saw Paul instructing US to live a life of rejoicing.  That was one of the components of living a life where the peace of God pervaded every part of our thinking and our feeling. 

      It is one thing to be commanded to experience something you are not currently experiencing.  It is another to have someone model it for you.  Having given the command to “Rejoice in the Lord always…” Paul starts to talk personally about his own experience of rejoicing, his own school of contentment over the past 20 years of his life.  He’s modeling something many of us find very difficult to actually get a grip on. 

      Notice that first crucial statement:  “I rejoice greatly in the Lord…”  This is the personal testimony time of Paul in response to the personal instruction time of vs. 4 (“Rejoice in the Lord always.”

      Before we look at that particular incident in which Paul rejoiced in the Lord, remember the realities about the man doing the writing here:         

  • Remember the particular place Paul found himself when writing this passage. It wasn’t the Rome Hilton, was it?  It was while under house arrest with some unrefined Roman Brutus guard chained to him 24/7.  Rejoicing “in the Lord” didn’t mean he loved where God had him or his health or his diet or a host of other things. 

Rejoicing and contentment was not about the surroundings.  It was about his heart choices.

      When anyone is living every day and every part of their day “in the Lord”, there are always a million things to rejoice over.  Circumstances can change us and everything around us, but they can never “change” the Lord.  As long as our joy in life is built around people or things, it will fail us.  But the more we build it on and in our unchanging God, “in the Lord”, the more life will be full of rejoicing on an “always” basis.

      Learning to be happy with God…joyful in our relationship with Him…is one of the first keys to laying hold of contentment.  Since we as human beings were made to be “in relationship” with God—a really active, ongoing, vibrant, moment-by-moment connectedness—AND since God is the happiest Being known to mankind…it stands to reason that when we are walking with Christ, we will be rejoicing as people.  Even though we may have to endure a certain amount of life, we can always find things about God IN those experiences that can give us joy. 

      Whatever it is Paul is going to go on and rejoice about, it is going to be framed “in the Lord”…through the lens of looking at life through what life can do to bring me into greater conformity to Jesus Christ. 

Q:  Is that how you and I are looking at whatever it is that seems to be standing in the way of happiness for us today?  Is that how we’re framing the latest trial, the latest disappointment, the most recent thing we’re wishing was different from what it actually is? Until we learn to frame all of life “in the Lord”, we’re probably not going to be very satisfied with most of life as it is. 

SECRET #1:

So this is the 1st secret of contentment:  As Christ-followers, our contentment will come from hearts fixed on growing up in the Lord Jesus in every experience of life.

That kind of person will seek to see life as Jesus does, find life in Christ no matter what the circumstances, and live life grateful to God for all the blessings and good things God is constantly giving us. 

But there is a difficult corollary to this truth.  It is that discontentment with life will ultimately lead to discontentment with God.  If we cannot…or will not…learn to have enough faith in God that no matter what is happening to us is because He wants to use it for our good, then we will eventually assume His place of judgment, passing judgment on Him, while holding to the mistaken belief that our viewpoint on life is better, wiser, more loving, etc. than His.  It is our job when we encounter discontentment in our life to reaffirm our faith in God, not in our own limited wisdom.  Failure to do so will eventually lead us to a potentially crippling discontentment with God himself. 

ILL:  Job

So HOW do you stop from going down that dead-end road?  We must focus on what we DO know about God (his character, nature, etc.), not what we DON’T understand about Him. 

APP:  Stop and think about one of the things threatening your contentment in life right now.  What about God is unchanged despite that threat?  What realities about God can you rejoice in despite that threat?  This is a habit we all need to cultivate:  to think of and verbalize what we are grateful for about God regardless of our circumstances.   

ILL:  Don’t seem to have enough money. What can any Christ-follower rejoice in about God in the midst of that experience?

Now Paul launches into his story of what specific reality has him happy in Christ right now.  It is both a particular EVENT and a PROCESS.  He starts with the event, in the Greek what we call an “aorist” action which points to a specific incident.  Just what is it?  Vss. 10-11a.

      “…that at last you have renewed your concern for me.  Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.  I am not saying this because I am in need….”

What was this “renewed concern” for Paul?  

Vs. 18 – “gifts” brought to him by Epaphroditus.  They were some material, perhaps financial resources that the church was sending Paul so that he could continue to survive under arrest in Rome.  Unlike America today where committing a crime and being incarcerated means the state will pay about $45,000 a year to give you a guaranteed three meals a day, health care, exercise facilities, an education if you want it, a warm, dry place to sleep, clothing, minimal entertainment, etc., being considered a criminal by Rome meant not just a loss of freedom but a loss of any way to take care of yourself either.  Deprivation and starvation were part of the punishment itself.   For Paul, single, separated from his Jewish roots and any family he may have had, that help came from one place – the Church.

      Paul is being honest in vs. 10. The practical love of the church had a definite impact on his joy. 

  • That’s why we must not stop coming together as a spiritual family. We all need hugs, handshakes, prayers, listening ears, shoulders to cry on and people to receive counsel from.  But too often we pull away from God’s people when we most need to be around them.  I see it over and over again…when people relapse, or go through a divorce, or get in trouble with the law, or feel dead in their faith, or have a family or health crisis. 
  • ILL: Donna & Horace right NOW!
  • ILL: Bob & current family crisis. 

Unlike many TV evangelists of today who give stirring appeals for money, that’s not what Paul was doing or wanted.  He wanted his children in the faith to understand that it wasn’t the physical gift that blessed him so much.  Sure, the money helped him in a time of real need.  But notice what he says really blessed him.

      Vs. 10 – “…renewed your concern for me.”

      Vs. 10b – “…opportunity to show it.”

      Vs. 17 – Not that I desire a gift.  What I desire is that more may be credited to your account.   

There is a Greek word that keeps reoccurring in this book (almost a dozen times) that is right here in these verses It is the word “concern”, or phroneo in Greek.  It really means to be “minded in a certain way” (W.E. Vine) or to “think of, be mindful of.”  It implies real reflection, not just mere passing thought.  It’s used in chapter 2 of the “like-minded” unity we are to have in the body of Christ around the life, heart and attitudes of Christ.  (See 2:2 & 5 – “being like-minded”; “attitude”). 

      Paul is happiest about the heart and growth in Christ that was motivating their gift.  The term for “renewed” in vs. 10 is a spring-and-summer-time-of-year term!  It’s what happens to all the trees and plants this time of year – they “blossom anew”; they “flourish again”.  Paul is jazzed about the inner transformation, the new flow of spiritual sap that is welling up in this church evidenced by the fragrant blossoms of Christ-like love for him.  Paul had great joy at not only “hearing” about the spiritual transformation that was taking place in the Philippian believers; he had great joy in seeing, experiencing, benefiting from the fresh blossoming of the life of Christ in them.  And he told them so!

APP:  When is the last time you told someone how blessed you are by their own spiritual development?  By how you have experienced Christ through them?  By their love and actions?  That was one of Paul’s “secrets” for joy—finding real joy in the spiritual growth of others. 

ILL:  Years ago I was taking David to grade school.  We got to talking about a test he had recently taken in which he had scored the highest grade in the class (100%).  He was rightfully happy about it, as was I. 

      But then the story took an interesting turn.  He happened to mention that one of his answers, though marked right, had actually been wrong.  He went on to inform me that the test had been “open notes” and that his notes had been wrong in regard to that one question.

      I took a breath and waited for “the rest of the story” which was what?  As his father, I wanted to hear about more than a particular grade or score.  I wanted to hear about his heart character.  I was waiting to hear that he had done what a man of integrity does – expose the error even when it means personal loss, in this case, points. 

      So I simply…calmly…casually asked, “So, what did you do when you found that out?”  Without a second’s hesitation he said, “Oh, I went up and told Mr. Anderson.  But he has a rule that if finding an error on his part lowers your grade, then you get to keep the higher score.”

      I about laid on the horn out of joy… right there… in the middle of traffic!  I was high-fiving him there in the truck. I was swerving all over the road!  J Why?  Because he got 100% on some open-notes quiz?  NO!  But because he was becoming a young man of integrity… when his parents aren’t there to coach him!!! 

      That’s what Paul was experiencing.  The helpful and deeply personal gift the church sent to him wasn’t the real deal.  It was the renewed, fresh blossoming of the life and heart of Christ coming out of this congregation that made Paul “high-five” that guard Brutus Maximus.  It was the renewed “mind”, the Christ-like attitude of looking to someone else’s interests before their own (Phil. 2) that made him shout.  Yes, it was awesome to be loved in a practical way by people hundreds of miles away.  But it was more wonderful to see this 10 year old church in Philippi having demonstrating fresh growth in the heart, attitudes and mind of Christ.  The Philippians apparently hadn’t lacked the concern; they had lacked the opportunity to demonstrate that Christ-compelled concern. 

Secret #2.  A contentment-filled Christian is one who is an AFFIRMING Christian.

      A person’s contentment can be measured by their affirmation indexImmature people complain about others.  Immature people measure life by how much others are praising them, not by how much they are affirming others.  Immature people don’t yet grasp that real joy in life comes from giving “at-a-boys” more than receiving them.  Immature people don’t yet understand that life is about leaving a blessing of encouragement with someone rather than getting a word of praise from someone. 

APP: 

  • Parents—don’t underestimate the power of praise! Make sure your interaction with your kids is full of affirmation.
  • Friendships—have far more appreciation than expectation.

It’s SO easy to get…and stay…on the negatives about people.  But that’s where the life of our godless flesh likes to stay.  Paul gave the Philippians the benefit of the doubt.  He didn’t berate them for not sending more sooner.  He just praised them for what they had done well. 

Now we come to verse 11-- 11 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.

Contented Christ-followers not only look to the Lord for their source of contentment and take time to affirm others. 

Secret #3.  Contentment-filled Christ-followers understand that contentment is something LEARNED. It doesn’t come naturally.  In fact discontent definitely comes more naturally to us humans. 

ILL:  We’re like the airline pilot who was flying over the beautiful Washington mountains and lakes and pointed out a particular lake to his copilot. “See that little one?” he said. “When I was a kid I used to sit in a rowboat down there, fishing. Every time a plane would fly overhead, I’d look up and wish I was flying it. Now I look down and wish I was in a rowboat, fishing.”

Or maybe we’re like the story of two teardrops floating down the river of life. One teardrop said to the other, “Who are you?” “I’m a teardrop from a girl who loved a man and lost him. Who are you?” “I’m a teardrop from the girl who got him.” 

      Listen to a little poem that expresses the discontent so prevalent in many of our lives.

I was a child,

But it was adulthood I wanted.

The freedom,

And the respect.

I was 20,

But it was 30 I wanted,

To be mature,

And sophisticated.

I was middle-aged,

But it was 20 I wanted,

The youth,

And the free spirit.

I was retired,

But it was middle age I wanted,

The presence of mind,

Without limitation.

 

My life was over.

But I never got what I wanted.

[Cited in David Jeremiah’s commentary on Philippians, Turing Towards Joy, pp. 188-189.]

      Puritan preacher Jeremiah Burroughs nailed it centuries ago when he wrote, “What a foolish thing is this, that because I have not got what I want, I will not enjoy the comfort of what I Have!”

STORY:  In the classic book Robinson Crusoe, Robinson is shipwrecked on a deserted island.  In time he finds a Bible among the chests he had salvaged from the wrecked ship.  He begins to read it and his heart is changed.  Then he writes this about contentment:

      “I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted; and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them; and which I take notice here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something that He has not given them.  All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want [lack] of thankfulness for what we have.”

      Paul makes it very clear that his contentment had little-to-nothing to do with the presence or absence of things or people he naturally wanted and enjoyed in life.  It had everything to do with LEARNING! 

      This is really good news!  If you or I am presently discontent, we’re not STUCK there!  We can LEARN how to go from discontent to dynamic contentment.  It obviously comes from a change of perspective, not a change of circumstances.  Contentment doesn’t come from more or less of anything.  It comes from gratitude about what IS. 

ILL:  Preparing to sell our home.  It’s been a tiring, all-consuming process.  I’ve found myself battling more anxiety than I have in a long time.  I’ll get up in the morning and just feel anxious about the day—all the things I need to get done but probably won’t even get to.  The every shrinking calendar that is eating up the few days remaining to our “goal” of listing the house by the end of July. 

      So I thought I would try a little of my own medicine this week knowing that I was going to be preaching from this passage.  I’ve always thought being in need and not having enough of whatever it is I want was harder to take than having too much of something.  But this moving experience is teaching me otherwise.  I’m anxious because our “stuff” is “abounding,”…way too much!

      One of the challenges with “too much” is you’ve got to be a good steward of it.  “Is it best to give this away or try and sell it?  To throw it away or give it away?  To re-purpose it or recycle it?”  The questions are never-ending. 

        So…I decided to try what Robinson Crusoe says is needed in every situation—simple thankfulness.  So I have now started praying thanksgiving more.  Take, for example, the hundreds and hundreds of books I’m packing and moving (actually starting our Mosaic library with!): 

  • “Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of having read so many of them.”
  • “Thank you that I still have SO much left to read in life.”
  • “Thank you for eyesight now for 60+ years to read.”
  • “Thank you for the gift of education these books represent and remind me of.”
  • “Thank you that I can share them with others rather than get arrested for having them.”
  • “Thank you for the wisdom of others accessible to me through these books.
  • “Thank you for the people who devoted big chunks of their lives to writing these so that I could know truth better.”

The thanksgiving really can be endless.  And it can be for any lack or any abundance. What I found was that, as I would truly practice thankfulness, I would actually experience much greater contentment

APPNAME some NEEDS we often find ourselves discontent in:

  • Health
  • $$$
  • Lack of transportation
  • Friendship
  • Housing

NAME some ABUNDANCES that can make us discontent:

  • Food >> weight challenges.
  • Work >> stress of deadlines
  • Transportation troubles >> repair bills, waiting for busses.
  • Children >> time, money, wisdom, discipline, marriage challenges.
  • $$$ >> good stewardship/management, materialism, upkeep, etc.

APP:  Now, take that need or that great abundance you wrote about at the opening today.  Take 30 seconds to pause and actually thank God for the blessings hidden in that need/want/abundance/much. 

The Holy Spirit is using some interesting words here in this verse on contentment.  For the matter of learning contentment, Paul used one word that speaks of having arrived at a fact of understanding through a process (vs. 11).  But the second word (vs. 12) for “learning the secret of” being content is a word that has the sense of some secret knowledge to which adherents of a mystery religion would aspire.  Paul is saying that there is something mysterious about the contentment that comes to the follower of Jesus Christ that only a Christian can really understand. 

ILL:  One of our local Christian authors that I’ve had the privilege of knowing personally is Dr. Jerry Sittser, past theology prof at Whitworth U.  In the first chapter of his books, Early Christian Spirituality, he addresses the conviction of the early Christian martyrs

      One of the most astounding things that happened consistently in the first two centuries of the Christian Church was an unnatural, an amazing peace and joy that flooded martyr after martyr in the Church.  While imprisoned, tortured and even when standing in the gladiatorial ring, surrounded by jeering crowds, naked and about to be torn to pieces and eaten by wild beasts or run through by gladiators, they went to their deaths “like brides and bridegrooms anticipating their wedding day.”  It stunned the pagans.  It drove them mad.  It made them both more zealous to persecute these Christians and it made many of them believe in Jesus at the sight of them.

      That is certainly an extreme example of the Christian “secret” of learned contentment.  But it is also an example of the peace and joy that is really beyond human understanding that God has, does and will bring to us when we choose to “learn to be content” in every type of situation. 

ILL:  Fanny Crosby, the great writer of gospel songs, was born with perfect sight.  She was blinded, however, when she was only six weeks old.  It happened because a country doctor, thinking he was treating her with eye drops, put some other chemical in her eyes which led to her early blindness. 

      At age 8, Fanny Crosby wrote this little poem.

Oh, what a happy child I am,

Although I cannot see!

I am resolved that in this world

Contented I will be.”

This is the very thing the late great preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones spoke of when he talked about what we must say to ourselves at times.  He wrote,

      “We must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us!  Do you realize what that means?  I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression…is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self….

      “Most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself….”

      “The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself.  You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself.  You must say to your soul:  “Why are you downcast” – what business have you to be disquieted?  You must turn on yourself, [correct] yourself…exhort yourself, and say to yourself:  “Hope in God” – instead of muttering in this depressed unhappy way.  And then you must go on to remind yourself of God….”

[Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations and Quotes, p. 210-211.]

      Another Christian writer of days gone by defined contentment this way:  “Contentment is realizing that God has already provided everything we need for our present happiness.”  (Bill Gothard)

      The biblical word used here for “content” literally means “self-sufficient”.  For the Christ-follower, it is the notion that I possess all I need within me [the Spirit of God himself] for whatever is going on around me.  We don’t have that in ourselves.  But we already have that “in Christ.”    

ILL:  It’s the difference between being a thermometer or a thermostat.  Most people are thermometers.  They merely register what the environment is doing around them.  If the situation is pressurized, they register tension or irritability.  If the environment is dark and stormy, they register worry and fear.  If it is tranquil, they usually feel O.K. 

      But other people are thermostats.  They regulate the atmosphere and environment around them.  They are mature change-agents who don’t let the situation dictate to them what the state of their soul and life will be.  If anything, an uncomfortable environment moves them to take action to keep their life in a healthy range of thought, attitude and action that produces contentment.

      “So many people go through life thinking that if they could just relocate, they would be content.  If they could just go to another church, they would be content.  If they could get a job in another community, they would be content.”  [Jeremiah, p. 194.]  The problem is what the ancient philosopher Socrates said when someone asked him about the unhappiness of one of his friends.  “Socrates answered, “The problem with that man is that he takes himself with him wherever he goes.”

      Brothers and sisters, no one can insure your contentment or mine, no one but our own hearts.  No one can steal your contentment of mine but that we first allow them to do so.  If our lives are full of discontent, it is the mirror we must look at, not the microscope.  God must do heart work here more than do change out there

      Paul’s life was one of almost unbelievable difficulty, pain and trials.

  • 5 times 39 lashes
  • 3 times beaten with rods
  • Once stoned
  • Once shipwrecked
  • Once left for dead
  • Constantly in danger from robbers and false brethren

IN all of them he “learned” the secret of Christian contentment.

What is God wanting to use in your life right now to teach you contentment that can only be found in Christ?

      Paul ends with a promise in vs. 13.  It isn’t a “blanket promise” as I’ve sometimes heard Christians quote it.  I actually like the NIV translation her because it makes it clear what Paul is talking about.

Philippians 4:13—I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

      It doesn’t mean I can climb Mt. Everest in a T-shirt and shorts…or at all, for that matter!  It doesn’t mean I can make a million dollars in a year, or eat all I want and not get sick, or knowingly walk into some den of temptation and not feel it.  No, the context of this promise is critical.  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  I can “do” all these different experiences and extremes of life that come my way under God’s gracious hand.  I can “do” them with a spirit that is content…as long as I “do” them IN CHRIST… THROUGH CHRIST…BY CHRIST.    

CLOSE: 

  • Where is there discontent in your life?
  • Has that discontent led you to discontent with God about some person, place or thing in your life right now.
  • Ask God to teach you genuine contentment in the midst of that issue.

 

 

SERMON NOTES HANDOUT:

Secrets of Contentment

Philippians 4:10-13

Mosaic Fellowship—July 14, 2019

 

#1.  What is the _________________________ of contentment when it comes to emotions?

 

 

#2.  How would I define contentment?

 

 

#3.  In my life right now, what are the presenting circumstances that threaten to rob me of contentment?

 

 

 

Circumstances can change us and life, but they can never change _________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________________________________

     

Contentment will require that I learn to ___________________ all of life “in the Lord.”

 

SECRET #1:

Our contentment will come when our hearts are _______________ on growing up in the Lord Jesus in every experience of life.

 

A difficult corollary to this secret:  discontentment with life will ultimately lead to discontentment with _____________________

 

What one thing is threatening my contentment in life right now?

 

 

 

What unchanging qualities about God can I rejoice in despite that threat?

 

 

Philippians 4:10 & 18 show that Paul was not as interested in the gift as he was in the _____________________ of the Philippians.

 

       

SECRET #2:  A contentment-filled Christian is one who is an _____________________________________ Christian.

 

 

SECRET #3:    Contentment-filled Christ-followers understand that contentment is something ___________________________.

 

 

 

What are some “needs” in which we often find ourselves discontent?

 

 

 

What are some “abundances” that can make us discontent?

 

 

 

Pick one need or abundance in your life right now and _________ God for as many things as you can think of about

a.) His character related to that need or abundance, and

b.) blessings that can come because of that need or abundance. 

 

When it comes to contentment, am I a thermometer or a ___________________________? 

 

What is God wanting to use in my life right now to teach me contentment that can only be found in Christ?

     

 

 

Philippians 4:13

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.