Bible Reading: Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. Philippians 4:11-13
For a while, this was something that I really struggled with, like really struggled. Often times, I would go back and forth with myself, questioning if I was really content or not. One day I felt like I was, but other days, not so much. I tried to read every “living a life of contentment” book I could find. Hoping that the next book would be the one, the one that would finally get me to a place where I consistently felt content.
And then one day the Lord spoke to me and said, “contentment is not a destination, it’s a decision.” Your choice to live a content life is not based on a feeling you have daily, but instead the decisions you make daily, in spite of how you feel. Here I was waiting to have this overwhelming feeling of contentment come over me, not realizing that all along, I was already living a life of contentment and it was evident in the daily decisions that I made.
Paul, in Philippians 4, was in a place that many of us have never experienced before, prison. I don’t know about you, but the feeling that I get when I hear the word “prison”, surely, isn’t contentment. As a matter of fact, it’s the complete opposite, discontentment. Despite Paul’s physical condition, he had gotten to a place where he was so in tune with following Christ, that despite how he may have felt from time to time, he had learned how to live a life of contentment. He had learned how to be fine with having a lot or having a little, being in prison or being a free man.
As human beings, we live eternally as a spirit, we have a soul, and we dwell in a body. Our soul is the part of our being where our emotions are housed. Emotions are God-giving feelings of pleasantness or unpleasantness. They are reactions to internal or external stimuli. Emotions are not good or bad; we make the choice whether we use emotions to honor Christ or to harm ourselves or others.
Emotions are an essential part of our personality. Life without emotions would be pretty uninteresting. If we did not have emotions, we would not experience anger or anxiety, but we also would not experience joy or love. God created us to experience a variety of emotions. Knowing this truth, we have to understand that our decisions can’t be based on how we feel, because how we feel, or our emotions, are spontaneous responses to our values and beliefs.
Because our feelings and emotions are spontaneous and are changing so often, we must learn to get to a place, like Paul, where we choose to be content in whatever state we are in, despite the way we feel or what may be going on externally.
Have you been struggling with contentment, warring back and forth with how you feel and juggling different emotions? Do you, like myself, feel content some days and then discontentment others? Make a decision today, that you are not going to entertain those feelings and thoughts of discontentment that arise, but instead, you will choose to be content and base your contentment on the truth of God!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for Your truth. At times, I feel good and other, not so much. Thank you for revealing to me that my position of contentment is not based on how I feel, but a decision that I make daily, based on Your Word for me. Forgive me for not always looking to You, but instead sometimes allowing my feelings to control my actions. By Your power, I declare today, that I will walk in contentment, in Jesus name I Pray, Amen!
*Note- Today’s Devo, is a repost from a previous one.*