This morning our lesson in Sunday school (or for the modern church they are called Weekend Groups) we discussed a passage in Philippians about being content.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:10-13New International Version (NIV)
While the passage focuses on being content no matter what our human situation is, the lesson made me think of two things. First what is the difference between being content and being complacent?
Both definitions include the phrase “being satisfied”. The difference is that the definition of content indicates not needing more and complacent includes not wanting more. I agree with the author here that when we fully rely on God, we can be content in all earthly situations that come our way. But what I wonder is if we get complacent, do we stop seeking Him? Do we stop stretching ourselves in order to grow in our faith?
The other thought I had was about the things God doesn’t want us to be content with. This list would include the eternal. I don’t think he wants us to be content with where we are today in our faith. We should always strive to grow more in our faith. I don’t think He wants us to be content with our current knowledge of His word. The Bible says to meditate on it day and night. I don’t think He wants us to be content with how strong our witness to others is today. Every person we encounter needs to see Jesus in us.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:3 – 8
Can we do all of this perfectly? Never. But at the end of the day, when we fail in our human efforts we take comfort in the fact that His mercies are new each day and the words of Paul in second Corinthians 12.
9 But he [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version