How to Be Contented?

According to the Collins Dictionary, “contented” means that the individual is satisfied with his life and the situation that he is in. Likewise, Oxford Dictionary defines “contented” as feeling happy and satisfied. So, how does the Bible teach us to be contented? With reference to the above definitions, we can learn how to be contented by first understanding and learning how to be satisfied and joyful.

To be satisfied

Normally, it’s not easy to be contented when one is not satisfied with the situation at present. So, the first step is to accept the current situation as it is. This is because God has His purpose for putting us under certain circumstances (Ecc 3:1; Isa 55:8-9). Moreover, as long as we have food to eat and clothing to wear, we should be contented (1Tim 6:8).

Next, the Bible teaches us not to envy others (Gal 5:26; Rom 13:13). If we have financial difficulties, we should live according to our means instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses. The more we envy what others have, the more dissatisfied we are; eventually causing us to be at wits’ end (Job 5:2b).

Also, in order to feel satisfied, we should not be greedy because ultimately it will get us into trouble (Prov 15:27a). As the Bible says in Ecclesiastes, a person who loves wealth will never ever be satisfied, rather he wants even more (Ecc 5:10). This is concurred in 1 Tim 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Similarly, Hebrews 13:5a reminds us not to covet but instead to be contented with what we have. This is because God said that He will never leave nor forsake us.

To be joyful

As Christians, we must always give thanks to God (Eph 5:20). When our hearts are filled with thanksgiving to God, naturally a sense of joy will erupt in our hearts (Isa 9:3; Ps 100:1, 147:7). Even when we are in the most difficult times, we ought to give thanks to God because He will not allow us to suffer beyond what we are able to tolerate (1 Cor 10:13).

Besides being thankful to God, placing our trust in God will make us joyful too. Philippians 4:6 reads, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” In other words, by entrusting all our worries and troubles to God through prayers, we will be filled with joy (Jn 16:24b). Our Lord Jesus taught us not to worry about our lives, what we eat and drink, and what we wear (Matt 6:25). Instead, He said in Matt 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Paul wrote in Phil 4:11 and in 2 Cor 7:4b that he had learned to be contented and exceedingly joyful even when he was under difficult circumstances. Indeed, God’s grace is sufficient for us because He strengthens us when we are weak (2 Cor 12:9a).

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