I am not telling you this because I need anything. I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens. I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, when I have enough to eat and when I go hungry, when I have more than I need and when I do not have enough. (Philippians 4:11-12 NCV)
One of the hardest things to do in the natural is to voice how “thankful” you are in the midst of a trial. To be honest, that’s the last thing your flesh wants to do, but this is why Galatians 5:16 says to walk habitually in the Spirit so you will not gratify the desires of your flesh. Not only is voicing thankfulness difficult, trying to be content with the circumstance is even harder to do. People misconstrue the meaning of contentment. It doesn’t mean that you do not want better in life and you don’t want things to change; it just means that you are determined to be happy in your current state until God changes it. Contentment actually means, according to the Webster’s Dictionary of American Language 1828 Edition, “Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.” When you are content you are not disturbed by bad news or negative changes in your circumstances. You aren’t complaining, grumbling, and having pity parties. You are happy in the storm because you know you are coming out victorious. I like what Joyce Meyer says “Be happy where you are on the way to where you’re going.” This is contentment in its simplest form.
Paul says “I have learned to be content…” Being content doesn’t happen overnight or over one circumstance. Learning is a process. It may take circumstance after circumstance after circumstance in order for you to learn to be content and thankful. The quicker you learn how to adjust your attitude and renew your mind about the problem, the easier your life will be. I’m still learning how to be content and I can honestly tell you it is a trying experience only because we always want things to be right and going our way; and when we are waiting on God, we never know when He will turn things around and impatience begins to stir and dominate our minds. The good news is, we should know God will turn it around so that should give us comfort and hope while we wait.
When your circumstances are good, you know how to be stable, happy, and thankful. You need to have the same attitude when things are going bad. Just remember that whatever you’re going through, there is someone out there that has it worse than you. You need to be thankful that God is keeping you and that His hand of provision and protection are with you. When you show God that you are thankful in the midst of a negative circumstance, it lets Him know that you have faith, hope, and confidence in Him that He will bring you out. Let praise replace complaining; contentment replace dissatisfaction; and thankfulness replace ungratefulness. It won’t work any other way, so make it easier on yourself and be positive in all circumstances.
Meditation Scripture (s):
- Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP)
- At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. (Ephesians 5:20 AMP)
- Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalms 100:4 NLT)
- Actually, godliness is a great source of profit when it is combined with being happy with what you already have. (1 Timothy 6:6 CEB)
*Note: My hope and prayer is that after you read this and meditate on the scriptures that you will get such a revelation that will spark further study on your own. The Bible has so much more to say that what I’ve included. There’s nothing better than studying the Word of God for yourself*