Contentment: It’s from the inside out

Pastor Arlin Sanford
Thursday, March 14, 2019
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            Pastor Arlin Sanford

A story is told of a king who had a malady and was advised by his astrologist that he would be cured if the shirt of a contented man were brought for him to wear.

Servants went out to all parts of the kingdom after such a person, and after a long search they found a man who was completely content — but he didn’t have a shirt.

Webster defines contentment as “a resting and satisfied mind at ease.”

Paul’s description in Philippians 4:11-13 (NASB) is as follows: “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and also, I know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me.”

I’m wondering how many of us in our area were “completely content” with the weather we have been asked to endure. During the record cold spell this February, did anyone have thoughts of moving to Arizona, or any other warm place? Many times, snap judgments can be made based on the circumstances surrounding us. When conditions are ideal, contentment is easy to embrace. But, when conditions are contrary to our liking, unrest encompasses our heart.

It’s as if “complete contentment” comes from the outside in — when in fact, true contentment comes from the inside out.

Part of being content is being “satisfied” in whatever state God has for us. If we keep our eyes transfixed upon our Savior, we accept that He is truly the “author and finisher” of our faith.

His choices for us are everything needed to live righteously. It’s usually when our gaze is cast upon luring surroundings that causes dissatisfaction with who are, our position in life, and what we have amassed. Ultimately, becoming dissatisfied, we tend, then, to alter our life goals to pursue things that God has not deemed best for us. Thus, believing that “contentment” comes from the outside in.

In I Timothy 6, we read that we are to “flee from these things…. and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” These characteristics lead to “complete contentment.” These are the products that take place from the inside out. Imagine the freedom of being relieved from the pursuit of material things — like a shirt. Now imagine adjusting your focus on the things from the spirit of God, which leads to “satisfaction, blessings, joy and peace.”