When You Can’t Get No Satisfaction

I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
–Philippians 4:12

Nothing wars against our sense of joy like the word “more.” We think, “If only I had more money. If only my house had more square footage. If only I had more prestige, then I could be happy.” Another word that wars against joy is “different.” We think, “If only I lived in a different city. If only I had a different job. If only I had a different mate, then I could be satisfied.” What’s the answer to our insatiable desire for “more” or for “different”? It’s contentment.

The word “contentment” comes from the word “containment.” To be content means to be self-contained. A person who is content doesn’t look to outward circumstances to derive his sense of well-being. He doesn’t tie his happiness to the Dow Jones Industrial Average or to his house or car. He has learned to be content in whatever circumstance he is in.

Can you honestly say, “I’ve learned to be satisfied regardless of my outward circumstances”? Let’s try a few scenarios. For example, let’s imagine it’s your three-week summer vacation. You’re on a white, sandy beach in Destin, Florida. You feel the breeze and hear the waves crashing. Would you be content in that situation?

Or let’s say it’s Monday morning. You get up at five thirty, get the children out of bed, fix breakfast and pack lunches, and take the kids to school. You race to a meeting at church, then it’s time to pick up the kids and take them to soccer practice. Then you race home to change and entertain out-of-town guests with your spouse. Are you content?

Or let’s imagine you’re a small business owner. You’ve spent thirty years building your business. You’ve enjoyed some success, but then the country goes into an economic downturn. Sales start to plummet, and you have to lay off three of your employees. Would you be content in that situation?

Or imagine that you were married for fifty years. Your mate passed away and you’re alone. Your two grown children live out of town. You go to church and talk on the phone to a few friends. But most of your days are long and empty. Are you content?

In Philippians 4:12, Paul was saying to the Philippian Christians, “I have learned the secret.” In verse 11 he said, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” That word “learned” refers to knowledge that comes by experience. Paul didn’t just preach and write about contentment; he experienced contentment in his own life.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When You Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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