One of the characteristics of our fallen world is discontent. The lost man is constantly seeking something to fill the empty void in his life. He is always looking to the next thrill or the next fulfillment of the flesh. The lust for material gain is unending and the quest for pleasure is an endless pursuit.
For the Christian, our search is over. We have found the greatest of all treasures and that which fills our hearts with delight. We have found God to be all sufficient. Sadly, however, it is possible for a Christian to lose sight of this treasure. He can once again begin rummaging through earthly sludge for his source of contentment. He begins looking at this life’s circumstances as the measure of his joy. When Providence takes a frowning turn he becomes filled with impatience and sorrow. How different are those whose joy is in Christ. The Apostle Paul declared, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). David said, “My refuge is in God” (Psalm 62:7).
Christian contentment is not stocism that sits back during times of trial and declares, “What will be will be.” And it is not a dull acceptance of every difficulty that comes our way. Contentment does not rule out impassioned pleadings before God. Surely God’s people seek His aid through every affliction. But Christian contentment creates a submissive heart that unites our will with the will of God. It is a heart that has learned to wait upon God while trusting His care. The heart of contentment has discovered the faithfulness of God’s Word and the wonderful solace to be found within the pages of Scripture. He prays God’s Word back to Him, “Strengthen thou me according to thy Word” (Psalm 119:28). “Uphold me according to thy Word” (Psalm 119:116).
We must see contentment as one of the chief graces. J.C. Ryle called it “one of the rarest graces. The fallen angels were not content. Adam and Eve were not content. Paul declared that he had “learned” contentment. We should pray for it—that we might be satisfied with Christ, even when deprived of every earthly comfort.