How do I approach discontentment? Often with a piece of cake. You laugh, but it’s true; and I’m not the only one, just ask Jenny Craig. Some people approach discontentment with alcohol or drugs. Some people take a nap and hope it will be gone when they wake up. Some people shop. Some people run from place to place and person to person, filling up every minute, ignoring their discontentment or even denying its existence.
I’ll let you in on a little secret…none of these things work. In fact, each of these approaches make matters worse; they add to our waistline, our bad habits, our debt, our exhaustion and, in turn, our discontentment.
The apostle Paul, one of the authors of the Bible, had something to say about discontentment: “For I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Philippians 4:11, 12
He learned to be content. That means he had experience with discontentment. There was a time he had everything most people want: money, position, power, popular friends… He went by the name of Saul at that time. Then something unexpected happened… He had an encounter with God. This was a real shocker to Paul since he thought he had the corner market on God and God’s will. (You can read more about the details of his encounter in The Bible– book of Acts chapters 8 and 9.)
The point is, his priorities changed in the light of The Truth. He traded in his money, his position, his power and his circle of friends to pursue a completely different life. Was it easy? No way. If you’re a believer, I’m sure you’ve quoted this verse, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” If you’re not a believer, but have been around one, you’ve probably heard this verse. I’ve encouraged myself with these words many times, especially when I’m exercising. (Can I get a witness?)
I believe this verse can be used in many different situations, but I was surprised to find that Paul first said these words when referring to discontentment. (Philippians 4:13) Paul needed Christ to give him the strength to deal with discontentment. Paul approached discontentment, hand-in-hand with Jesus. Why would I choose to do anything less? Why would you?