Saturday, September 24, 2016

Guest Post: Contentment || by Kolapo Tunmise

The subject of contentment is one that many misunderstand greatly, with differing views and arguments as to what it actually means. But, what is contentment? Should a Christian be contented with whatever he has, or should he strive for more? What exactly did Apostle Paul mean by being "content" in whatever state he was?
Great insight is provided into these questions and much more in this great piece by Kolapo Tunmise...

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How and where do I start? Let me start by expressing my heartfelt appreciation to you for selecting me as a guest writer on your platform. Thanks a ton!

Now, to our discussion. The bible says to "be content with such things as you have" (Hebrews 13:5). Paul the Apostle could testify, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Philippians 4:11). And writing to Timothy, he stated, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

In many ways, discontent has no place in the life of a Christian. As Children of the heavenly Father, we are not only to trust Him to supply our needs, but we are also to be satisfied with whatever He provides.

Does that mean we must never try to improve our situation in life, work for promotions, do what we can do to live a meaningful life? The answer should be obvious. Although we are to be content with what we have, that shouldn't stop us from using diligently and responsibly the skills with which we have been endowed. We should always work where our abilities can best be used and bring best returns.

Webster dictionary defines contentment as, "to be satisfied with one's possession, status or situation." This definition raises two questions: What is the source of lasting satisfaction? And how can we tap into it? Interestingly, contentment and its opposite are no respecter of persons.

Many poor people enjoy deep inner satisfaction, whereas many wealthy people are miserable. On the other hand, many rich people are humble, grateful and unaffected by their wealth while many poor become people bemoan their plight. Apostle Paul said, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." What encouragement in that word "learned"! It implies change, time to grow, and genuine hope. It's an open door through which most disgruntled people can pass - if they want to know.

Being at peace with God and His word is the basis of lasting contentment. God must first become our satisfaction. An early church father said that there is a God-shaped vacuum in every man, and only God can fill it. To find satisfaction in Him, we must know that He is satisfied with us. But this is the problem.

By birth we are sinners who enjoy going our own way. But God saw our dilemma and planned a way thereby He Himself could become our great Satisfier. He sent His only begotten son to bear our sin and guilt. Jesus' death satisfied the demand of God's holy nature, which must punish sinners.

Now He offers us forgiveness, new life, unconditional acceptance, and a place of service. Our part is to admit our sin and trust Jesus as our saviour. Faith in Christ provides a soul sufficiency that finds its source in the Creator Himself. And fellowship with Him enhances our self-acceptance and our acceptance of others, the lack of which causes discontentment.

To build contentment into living, we must first recognise that material things do not bring lasting satisfaction. They can give us comfort and convenient (which isn't wrong). But I have come to understand that no physical object can cure anxiety. A new car, a lovely house may add variety and enjoyment to life, but they can also increase worry, responsibility, and the fear of loss. We must learn to hold lightly the things of earth. Only then can we enjoy them as gifts from God.

We must also learn to modify our desire. "It is a great blessing to possess what one wishes," said a man to an ancient philosopher. "It is greater still," came the reply, "Not to desire what one does not possess."

Most of us are not content with our lot until it's a lot more. The key to is to curb our desires so that they are more in line with our needs. A Spanish proverb puts it like this: "Since we cannot get what we like, let's like what we can get."

No one can meet the demands of this life. New cars, new phones, new gadgets are introduced everyday. And if you want to live by what you desire, you will end up not falling in love with the kind of person you must have become. Remember, contentment is in God not in things. The bible says, "Let your conduct be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have. For He himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).

And what about life's adversity? We must also learn to be content with our circumstances. When Paul spoke of being content in any state, he was thinking of more than poverty or prosperity. He had in mind a wide range of conditions imposed upon Him, often by outside forces. He had learned to live in such straits as hunger, thirst, cold, nakedness, suffering, mental torture and persecution (2Cor. 11:26,27). And how did he learn to live under these conditions? Did he practice some mind-over-matter technique that enabled him to bear adversity with the attitude of a statue? Not at all!

Paul was flesh and blood, deeply conscious of his weakness. He laughed, cried, got angry and became perplexed. He openly acknowledged fear and despair of life itself (2Cor. 1:8; 7:5). But through it all, one thing held true - he had been laid hold of by Christ. From his conversion and subsequent trials, he was being drawn closer to Jesus, to His love and His power. He was being made like Him. No wonder he could write "for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).

Circumstances, then, can be the means of conforming us to Christ's likeness. Knowing that our loving Father is in control of everything assures that disguised advantages can be found in the most devastating adversities. Like Apostle Paul, we can be confident of the outcome of our life, and we can be sure that righteousness and truth will triumph in the world. Why? Because nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38,39).

How content we are will be in direct proportion to the vitality of our relationship to Jesus. The more satisfied we are with Him, the less we will seek the stimulating substitutes of earth. The more we draw our strength from Him, the more firmly we'll stand up in the bitter gales of adversity.

Every Christian can learn to be CONTENT. Shalom!
Kolapo Tunmise is an inspired writer, insightful teacher and passionate preacher of the gospel of Jesus. He's on Facebook: Kolapo Tunmise Ogunbekun.
PS: This is a guest post. If you'd also like to write an inspired piece for Still Small Voice Blog, do send a mail to

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