11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11–13, NKJV)
Contentment is a learned trait. Whether one lives in a land of abundance or scarcity, contentment does not come easy. Defined as being “sufficient for one’s self, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support; independent of external circumstances” (Thayer, 85), contentment looks beyond momentary situations. It has learned that life is “more than food,” and the body is “more than clothing” (Matt. 6:25). Contentment is an expression of faith in God, our great Provider, and Sustainer (Matt. 6:26-33). Whatever external forces press upon it, contentment fixates on Christ, not on self (v. 12-13). It looks beyond the moment into eternity (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Paul had learned contentment during his experiences, and so can we. Our strength to persevere through deprivation and to resist self-indulgence in times of plenty comes from Christ and our faith in Him. Whatever state in which you find yourself today, remember to trust Christ and order your life according to His principles of truth and righteousness (Eph. 4:23-24). By doing so, you can be content in Christ, come what may.