Contentment is about being mentally and emotionally OK with the state of things as they are. That seems like a difficult thing to do though, doesn't it? As Christians, we are called to be content with God's will for our lives and not worry over what we do not have. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25).
Basically, Jesus is telling us to be content with what we have been given. Then He tells us not to even worry about what we don't have because "the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:32-33). Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived, said, "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless" (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
The apostle Paul suffered an incredible amount, living without comforts that most people get to enjoy like, you know, not being stranded in a dangerous land, robbed, beaten, or having to travel while homeless, hungry, and dehydrated (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). And yet, somehow Paul found contentment in his life: "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. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12-13).
Now we come to the question of HOW. How did Paul find contentment when his life was unbelievably harsh? How can we be content with what we possess (or don't possess), where we live, our grades, our appearance, our friends, etc.? The answer comes down to trust. If you're not sure where you stand, ask yourself these questions:
If you answered "yes" to most of those questions, then you will find yourself much more content with what you have because you know that whatever the state of your life, this is what God has said is best for you right now. If you find yourself answering "no" to most of those questions, you are not alone, but we would encourage you to get to know God better. Read His Word to learn His story, talk to Him in prayer, and talk to others who love Him. It's hard to trust someone you don't know very well, right?
Even if you trust God today, that doesn't mean that you will never struggle with contentment. Things might be difficult sometimes. They might be difficult right now. For example, we all struggle with jealousy now and then. We all make sinful choices sometimes. All too often the "spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). Still, during hard times, you will always have control over whether you dwell on your life's shortcomings or trust that God has a plan.
Your level of contentment is your choice.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." —1 Peter 5:6-7
Contentment is about being mentally and emotionally OK with the state of things as they are. The secret to being content is trusting in God's sovereign plan for your life (Matthew 6:25) and drawing on Him for strength (Philippians 4:12-13). Even though you may struggle with contentment sometimes, you will always have control over whether you dwell on your life's shortcomings or trust that God has a plan. Your level of contentment is your choice.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.