Would you say you are happy with your life? Are you satisfied and content? If your answer is no, I have good news for you: You can learn how to be content—no matter where you are in life or what your circumstances may be.
In Phil. 4:11-12, the apostle Paul says, "...I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want" (AMP).
This scripture is so encouraging because it's clear that we can make the decision to learn how to be content and satisfied no matter what we're doing or what's going on. As born-again believers in Christ, we have the power of God in us, and our attitudes and emotions don't have to be ruled by our circumstances.
Discontentment: What It's All About
The word "discontent" means "not satisfied, unhappy, a sense of resentment, jealousy, complaining, grumbling, murmuring, to be depressed, downcast or have a sad countenance." People usually are discontent when they don't have something they want, or things are not going the way they expected them to.
I wasted a lot of years believing if my circumstances were a certain way or the people in my life behaved a certain way, then I would be happy and satisfied. But I discovered that I was the one who needed to change, because real joy and happiness are not based on what we have or what our circumstances are like.
The truth is the world is full of people who have what we may think we want, and they're not happy either. Some of the most unhappy people in the world are the people who "have it all." Being content is not about fame, how much money you have, your position at work, your social status, level of education, or where you come from. It's about having a heart attitude that is grateful, selfless and happy when good things happen to others.
A Humble Heart Leads to True Contentment
The Bible says in 1 Tim. 6:6 that "godliness with contentment is great gain" (AMP). This shows us that a godly person who is content is in the best place he can be.
The word "content" means "satisfied to the point where you're not disturbed no matter what's going on." I want to clarify that it doesn't mean you don't want anything to change; it means you're not disturbed where you are while you're waiting for change to happen, because you're trusting God to work things out for you.
To be content, you have to have a humble attitude. Humility doesn't come easily, but it's a godly virtue that should be pursued more than anything else.
See, the happiest, most content people are truly thankful for what they have, because they realize that truthfully, they deserve nothing. They understand that if it were not for the grace, mercy, kindness and goodness of God, they would be absolutely nothing. They have a humble attitude that says, "God, I am desperate for You every minute of every day. I can do nothing without You."
Being satisfied and thankful is a decision we make, and it comes from a humble heart that sincerely trusts God. We can't be satisfied if we don't trust God. He's on our side, and He knows what is best for us. So we need to come to the place in our relationship with Him that we are willing to let go of what we want (or what we think we want) and trust Him to do what is right for us.
The Relationship That Makes All the Difference
Another key to contentment is personal, intimate relationship with God--not religious activity. Jesus gave His life so we could have new life through His sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit could live in us. God wants us to have confidence that He loves us and He speaks to our hearts, giving us discernment to know right from wrong and wisdom for every decision we make. He wants us to talk to Him about everything that concerns us, because He cares about everything in our lives.
True contentment and satisfaction come when we focus on desiring the one thing that matters most: relationship with God. Psalm 27:4 says, "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord, and to seek him in his temple" (NIV). God loves you, and He wants you to live in His presence. Seek Him with your whole heart, and you'll discover the secret to having contentment every day of your life!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has authored more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and You Can Begin Again (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org.