Contentment – What It Is and Is Not

Text: Philippians 4:11

The Bible stresses the importance of contentment in the lives of God’s people. However, we need to be sure we understand what contentment is. Many claim to be content, but in reality their condition may be better described as immaturity, disobedience, cowardice, laziness, apathy, etc. In this lesson, we will consider what the Bible says about contentment – what it is and is not.

What Contentment Is Not

  • An excuse not to grow/mature – God expects us to grow/mature (2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 5:11-12); yet many remain in a state of immaturity; unable to teach, serve, lead, etc.; this is NOT contentment
  • An excuse to remain in sin – God expects us to remove sin from our lives (Hebrews 12:1; Romans 6:1-2); yet many accept that certain struggles with temptation/sin will always be there; this is NOT contentment
  • An excuse to tolerate what is wrong – sin/error are to be dealt with, not ignored (1 Corinthians 5:13; 2 John 10-11); yet many claim patience/tolerance instead of addressing the problem; this is NOT contentment
  • An excuse not to work hard – we are to work hard, physically and spiritually (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Hebrews 4:11); yet many are lazy and accept the consequences of refusing to work hard; this is NOT contentment
  • An excuse not to practice good stewardship – we are to be good stewards of God’s gifts (1 Peter 4:10); yet many are apathetic about their blessings and squander what God has given; this is NOT contentment

What Contentment Is

  • Humbly submitting to the will of God (2 John 9) – be content to remain within the bounds of God’s word; do not look for something new or different (2 John 10; Galatians 1:6-9); recognize that God’s way is best (1 Corinthians 1:25; Isaiah 55:8-9); submit to His will (Colossians 3:17)
  • Patiently dealing with circumstances beyond our control (Ecclesiastes 8:8) – we cannot control everything; do not worry about things that are beyond our control (Matthew 6:27, 34; 1 Timothy 6:17); we can and should plan for the future (James 4:13-16); but we must accept whatever happens (Proverbs 19:21)
  • Graciously accepting whatever blessings God provides (Philippians 4:11-12) – content with prosperity or need; we can be content with little or much (Ecclesiastes 5:12; 1 Timothy 6:8); depends on gratitude (1 Timothy 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:18); every good thing we have is from God (James 1:17); He will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)
  • Willingly accepting whatever consequences come from doing what is right (2 Corinthians 12:10) – we will face persecution as Christians in some form (John 15:18-19; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12); if we suffer, we are blessed (1 Peter 3:14); do not be ashamed, but trust in God (1 Peter 4:16, 19)

What a Content Christian Will Do

  • Continue to obey the Lord (Revelation 2:10) – following God may lead to trouble in this life (Matthew 5:10); do not give up (Hebrews 10:35-39)
  • Maintain a regular habit of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – prayer leads to peace (Philippians 4:6-7); this peace allows us to be content (Philippians 4:11-12)
  • Refrain from grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:14) – whatever we complain about it “momentary, light affliction” (2 Corinthians 4:17); we need the right perspective (2 Corinthians 5:1)
  • Keep focused on the goal of heaven (Philippians 3:14) – focusing of the things of this world will choke out the word (Luke 8:14); focus on heaven (Colossians 3:1-2)


  • As Christians, we must be content – content by the Biblical definition we have seen
  • Not about laziness, apathy, immaturity, etc. – it is about a humble submission and trust in God
  • Godliness and contentment leads to a “great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6) – this reward is eternal life

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