Overcoming Discontentment

Jan 15, 2023    Steve Byrens

“I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” is one of the most popular Bible verses people quote today. You see it tattooed on people's forearms. Famous athletes quote it. People claim it for all kinds of situations, and most of the time it involves trying to get what they want from God. 

But that is not what was happening when the apostle Paul wrote this statement. Listen to these words in context in Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV), “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through Him (Christ) who gives me strength.” Paul is not looking for hope in better circumstances. He has learned to be content (even while he sits in prison) because his hope is in Christ, not the things of this world. 

One of the greatest struggles we face as human beings is the struggle to find contentment. No matter how good our circumstances are, it seems like discontentment is always waiting just around the corner. This can be a major obstacle when it comes to trying to bring our feelings under the control of the Holy Spirit.

In today’s study we’ll look at the spiritual implications of this powerful emotion. When discontentment takes over, it’s like a spiritual cancer. If left unchecked, it slowly kills the soul. This is why we need to learn to recognize when these types of feelings are present in our lives. If we leave them unchecked, they are a destructive force, cutting us off from the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. But when we learn to evaluate our discontentment in light of God’s truth, it brings life!