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. Philippians 4:12 (NIV)
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magine a new reality show called, “Why is it in your closet?” The host, acting like your best friend, goes through your closet, asking why you own this outfit or those pair of shoes.
A condition of the show requires you to answer honestly how many items in your closet were bought because you just had to have the latest trend or because you felt just a teeny, tiny bit jealous about the way your co-worker always wears the latest styles at the office? Are there things in your closet you bought because you were bored with your wardrobe, or because the scent of discontent filled the air as you shuffled between hangers?
Now, before you get defensive, let me explain that there is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice, or to have nice things, or to try to better your life and the lives of those you love. Discontentment, wrapped within the proper perspective, is one thing God uses to move us in a new, healthy direction.
Discontentment becomes unhealthy when your desire to acquire becomes the focus of your life and your possessions. In fact, at that point, your possessions begin to possess you and your discontentment becomes a short leash that controls you and actually holds you back from experiencing the abundant life God created you to enjoy.
The apostle Paul, who was blessed with great privileges, but also beaten and stripped of everything he had, taught that true contentment must be learned: “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” (Philippians 4:12 NIV).
He goes on to say that God gives us strength to be content. This is an important spiritual truth to learn because if wealth, good looks, and a star-quality spouse brought us lasting contentment, then Hollywood would be filled with some of the most content and happy people on earth.