What Is Contentment

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

February 27, 2024

What Is Contentment


Philippians 4:12 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."


Have you ever found yourself wrestling with the concept of "contentment"? Maybe you've felt like it's an unattainable state because you're stuck in a difficult situation or living in a state of waiting. Maybe you've viewed contentment as a setup for failure or a denial of your legitimate desires. It's a common struggle, isn't it?

But here's the thing: Desire and contentment aren't at odds with each other. They can coexist. Scripture makes it clear: we have desires. Some of them align with God's will, while others don't. Take a look at Psalm 37:4 and Jude 1:8 for reference.

Now, in Philippians 4, Paul shares something profound about contentment. It's not what I initially thought. The secret he learned wasn't about suppressing his needs or pretending to be content despite his circumstances. No, his contentment stemmed from his relationship with Christ, not from his own efforts.

Contentment, then, isn't about having everything perfect around us. It's about living in the fullness of God, independent of our circumstances. That doesn't mean we stop having desires. It simply means our contentment isn't contingent on whether those desires are fulfilled.

The Bible provides practical guidance if you wrestle with this tension. We can focus our minds on godly things (Philippians 4:8), remember God's faithfulness (Psalm 103:1-2), and communicate our desires to God while seeking his will through prayer (Matthew 7:7-12).

The truth is, even when we attain our long-awaited desires, new ones inevitably surface. It's part of our human experience. But here's the hope: the Holy Spirit empowers us to experience contentment amidst our desires.

So yes, we can be content in our current circumstances while still yearning for change. Whether in our relationship status, career, or daily struggles, we can be honest about our desires while trusting that God isn't holding back his best from us.

Contentment isn't about settling for less, it's about finding joy and fulfillment in Christ, regardless of our circumstances.


Desire and contentment are not mutually exclusive. The Bible acknowledges our innate desires, some aligned with God's will and others not (Psalm 37:4; Jude 1:8). Understanding this duality is the first step toward embracing true contentment. Recognize the biblical desires in your life, write them down.


God, give me the wisdom to recognize that my desires, whether met or unmet, do not define my contentment. Guide me to cultivate a mindset of godliness, focusing my thoughts on what is true, noble, pure, and praiseworthy. Strengthen my faith to trust in your plans. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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