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Lessons in Contentment

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Lessons in Contentment


I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians

4:11 (NIV)

*** *** *** ***

Here are four steps to develop contentment in your life.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others. When you compare your life with

someone else's, the only place it can lead is toward discontentment.

There will always be people who appear to be better off than you, but

you don't know their real circumstances.

I recall counseling a husband many years ago, and he said he wished

his wife could be more like so-and-so, and he named a woman in our

congregation. What he didn't know is that the woman was a functioning

alcoholic causing incredible heartache and stress for her family and

for her husband.

That's why the Bible teaches it is unwise to compare (2 Corinthians


2. Be grateful for who you are and what you have. Learning to be

content requires that you stop any " when and then " thinking – " When I

am ___________, then I'll be happy. " (You fill in the blank.)

The reason we fall into this trap is that we may actually be content

for a little while but it won't last. But, more than likely, someone

else or something else will come along and drain the contentment from

your life.

But listen, you are unique. God created you to be like nobody else, so

why would you want to be anyone else. God is perfect, and you were his

perfect choice to be you. Understanding that is a huge step toward

being content with your life.

And then look at all the things God has given you. So often we allow

what we don't have to so dominate our focus that we forget the many

wonderful things we already have, not only material blessing, but far

more important things, such as family and friends.

3. Give yourself to others. If you will begin giving yourself to

others, sharing what things you do have, sharing your time and your

talents, you will find yourself learning to be content. Helping others

will give you an appreciation for what you have and who you are, but

more importantly, you will find yourself growing content. Why? Because

God designed us to serve and share with others, and until we do that,

we will feel great discontent.

4. Focus on things with eternal value. The real secret to becoming

content is to focus on the things that have eternal value. It may be a

familiar teaching to you, but Jesus said we should store up our

treasures in heaven, and not on earth " where moth and rust destroy,

and where thieves break in and steal " ( 6:19-21 NIV).

Think about the things in your life: What will last forever? What will

last at least for your lifetime? What will last a few short years, or

months, or days? Based on eternal value, what things are most

important in your life? Where – and with whom – should you put your

most time and energy?

By re-organizing your life around eternal priorities, you'll find

yourself growing in contentment as you live according to God's design

and purpose.

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