By Greg Laurie
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.
A psychologist who conducted research on what brings contentment observed, “If people strive for a certain level of affluence thinking that will make them happy, they find that on reaching it, they become very quickly habituated, and at that point they start hankering for the next level of income, property, or good health.”
Getting more stuff won’t bring contentment. Someone who makes thousands of dollars thinks, “If only I were a millionaire.” The millionaire thinks, “If only I were a billionaire.” It’s always beyond their reach.
In his epistle to the church at Philippi, Paul said that he had found the secret to contentment. What’s interesting is that Paul was experiencing adverse circumstances when he wrote this. He wasn’t kicking back on some beach in the Mediterranean, eating a falafel. He was a prisoner of Rome. He was facing an uncertain future. Yet he wrote a lot about joy, rejoicing, happiness, and contentment.
How is that possible? The answer is found in a word that Paul used and referenced again and again in his epistle: mind. Which brings us to a simple point: The secret of contentment is found in the way a believer thinks. It is not found in the way a believer feels, because our emotions fluctuate. We don’t base contentment on the way that we feel; we base it on the way that we think.
My friend Max Lucado put it this way: “The good life begins not when circumstances change, but when our attitude toward them does.”
Paul had experienced pleasure and health as well as sickness and weakness. He had highs and lows. He was a hero to some and a villain to others. But he learned this. Contentment does not come from conquering our circumstances. Rather, it comes from learning to live with them.
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