by Rick Warren — February 25, 2023
From The Life You Were Meant to Live
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
Philippians 4:11 (NIV)
If you’re serious about slowing down, don’t start with your schedule. Start with your heart.
Paul says in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (NIV). Notice that Paul says he has “learned” contentment. You are not by nature a contented person. Neither am I! It is our nature to be discontent—to want things to be different, to want them to be better. But if you’re going to slow down your life, you have to learn contentment. And you can only do that over time.
Paul explains what it looks like to be content. He says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 6:6-8 NIV).
Paul is emphasizing that life isn’t about things. A person who is content can acknowledge, “I didn’t have anything before I was born; I’m not going to have anything after I die. Yes, I need things, but they’re not what life is about—so I’ll just be content with what I’ve got.”
Let me explain what contentment is not. Contentment is not abandoning your ambition; you ought to have ambition and make the most of what God has given you. Contentment doesn’t mean you don’t have any goals, dreams, or plans for your life. In fact, God says it’s good to have godly ambition.
Contentment means this: You don’t need more in order to be happy; you’re happy right now with what you’ve been given.
Happiness is a choice. In other words, you are as happy as you choose to be! You can’t blame unhappiness on your circumstances. If you’re not happy with your current circumstances, you’re not going to be happy with different ones. We live on a broken planet, and nothing is perfect; there will always be something wrong in your life.
God wants you to learn to be happy in spite of difficult situations by trusting that he will give you exactly what you need when you need it. Learning contentment is a process. Why don’t you commit to starting that process today?