The Secret to a Satisfied Life
Summary: Our ability to be content is under attack. Can we really be satisfied with life, career, relationships? With God and His plan? Discover the truth of contentment and satisfaction.
· Our ability to be content is under attack. Advertising agencies spend billions of dollars to encourage our discontentment and create a desire in us to buy their products. In order to buy something new, you must first be dissatisfied with what you have.
· A heart that is not satisfied causes us to make constant, unnecessary changes in our life that never produce the benefits we desire. (Constant cycle of disappointment)
· Ambition, dreams, and vision are from God.
· God is not the source of striving, unhealthy stress, worry, fear and doubt.
Ecclesiastes 6:6 Living Bible – Though a man lives a thousand years twice over, but does not find contentment—what’s the use?
People need 3 Things to make them Happy & Content: 1. Something To Do, 2. Someone to Love, 3. Something to Look forward to
Happy is defined – delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky, Blessed
The 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Ecclesiastes 3:12 NIV – I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.
•In Readers Digest (Feb 2007) – “Happy People thrive. They’re more creative & productive, earn more money, attract more friends, enjoy better marriages, stay healthier & even outlive their grumpier peers.”
Ecclesiastes 8:15 NLT – So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.
Remember the song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Years later you still hear that as a common complaint. All the time you meet people who are unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsatisfied.
What is the secret to a happy satisfied life? If you could bottle contentment you could make a million dollars overnight.
Philippians 4:11-13 NLT – Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 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. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.
•When he’s writing this, Paul is old, lonely and he’s in a cold Roman prison.
•Ecclesiastes 6:6 NLT -He might live a thousand years twice over but still not find contentment. And since he must die like everyone else—well, what’s the use?
•Ecclesiastes 2:1 NIV– I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.
Solomon had it all! 700 Wives & 300 concubines, Money, Sex, Power, Fame, Wisdom. his conclusion was that it was meaningless.
What is contentment? It is not apathy, laziness, complacency.
Contentment is independent from circumstances. You do not base your happiness on the situation around you. Happiness comes from within. How do you get that kind of contentment and satisfaction in life?
Paul says contentment is learned. It’s not something that’s instant, in a one time experience. Life is a school of contentment and the problem is most people never learn and they die unfulfilled and unsatisfied and unhappy. How do you learn contentment?
HOW TO EXPERIENCE REAL CONTENTMENT
Paul gives us four lessons to learn that will give us a satisfying, HAPPY abundant life.
1. LEARN TO AVOID COMPARISONS
Comparing yourself to others always leads to discontent.
2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV – We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
Galatians 6:4 NLT – Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.
When you strive to be the person God made you to be, you’ll find real meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction. You can’t focus on your purpose while looking at other people.
Philippians 4:11b – “… for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”
(The sin of comparison) A covetous heart is never satisfied. When we covet someone else’s job, spouse, income, house or car, we are saying, “You have not been fair with me, God! I deserve more. You owe me something.”
2 Cor. 4:18 NLT “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
•Paul says, I don’t look around, I look up. I don’t spend my time comparing myself to other people. I keep my eyes on what is to happen.
Three misconceptions about happiness:
1) I must have what others have to be happy. That’s the myth behind all fads and fashions. It’s just not true.
2) I must be liked by everyone in order to be happy. You don’t, you know. Many people spend so much time trying to win the approval of others. You cannot go through life without some disapproval — if you do anything, somebody is not going to like it. Even Jesus couldn’t please everybody. Only a fool would try to do what Jesus couldn’t do. You don’t need everybody’s approval to be happy.
3) Having more will make me more happy. Howard Hughes was asked, “How much money does it take to make a man happy?” He said, “Just a little more.”
I Timothy 6:6-8 NIV – “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
All possessions are temporary. They’re just loaned to us. We use them while we’re here on earth, have a good time with them, enjoy them, use them for God’s glory, but they’re not going to last. Don’t get an obsession with possessions.
2. LEARN TO ADJUST TO CHANGE
Life is full of ups and downs — emotionally, physically, mentally, financially. There’s nothing certain in life except change. Change is certain.
How well do you handle change? How well do you handle when things are shaken up a little? Do you get frightened? Moody? Angry? Uptight? Paul says that one of the secrets of learning to be content in life is the ability to adjust to all kinds of circumstances and change. Paul says you need to learn to adjust to it. Your happiness in life will be largely dependent upon your ability to adapt, adjust, be flexible. Change is going to happen whether you like it or not.
Philippians 4:12 NLT – 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.
Paul says he’s seen good times and bad times. What did experience teach Paul? Berkley translation: “I have learned to be independent of circumstances.” That is the secret of a satisfying life. You don’t get your joys or happiness out of things, people, possessions, pleasures, profits, popularity, prestige… Paul says he’s learned to be independent of circumstances.
Paul continually said, I can handle this, no problem, I can cope. I avoid comparisons and I adjust to change. I am flexible. We must be flexible because circumstances usually aren’t. No matter what I go through I am not a victim. I choose not to be a victim. No matter what people do to me they are not going to control my life. No matter what hurt, experience or difficulty I go through and I have every reason to have bad memories, I will not let it victimize me.
-I am independent of circumstances. That is real freedom — when you can say I am not controlled by my circumstances, I am not manipulated by the external things in my life.
-People say “I’m OK, under the circumstances.” Circumstances were never meant to be something you get under. Get on top of them. You don’t have to live “under the circumstances” — that’s a choice.
There are three kinds of circumstances in life:
- Those I can control and I do. Switch TV channels, if you’re hungry you feed yourself.
2) Those I can control and I don’t. This is not excuse for laziness. Contentment is not laziness or complacency. If you can change a situation you don’t need contentment — you need to get up and do something about it. (Weight, health, etc)
3) Those I cannot control and there are many in life. This is where you need contentment, in uncontrollable circumstances. Things that are beyond your power. You have done the best you could but they are still out of your hands. That’s where you need to learn to relax, trust God, adjust and avoid comparing yourself.
Romans 12:18 NIV– If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Circumstances demand flexibility in life.
3. LEARN TO DRAW ON CHRIST’S POWER
Instead of just depending on my own effort to make it through circumstances and my own energy, I must learn to draw on Christ’s power.
Philippians 4:13 NLT – For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.
Do you know how you know when you’re depending on your own power? You get tired. Fatigue comes from living life on your own resources rather than on the resources of God.
What do you need to control? Do you need to get control of your time? your mouth? your temper? your weight? a bad habit?
Amplified version: “…I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me, that is I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.”
The Greek word for “strength” is the word from which we get the word “dynamite” or “dynamo”. A dynamo is something that gives continual energy. Paul is saying, Jesus Christ is the dynamo of my life. He gives me continuous energy. I don’t run out.
2 Cor. 12:9 NIV – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
•”Sufficient” is the same word as “contentment” in Philippians. Sufficiency is contentment. Contentment is independent of circumstances. God allows you to go through problems in your life so you can learn contentment and sufficiency and He can show His power
“God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” CS Lewis
4. LEARN TO TRUST GOD TO MEET MY NEEDS
Philippians 4:19 NLT – And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
When I buy an insurance policy I read through it to find out what is covered. When I know what’s covered, I don’t worry — it’s covered. The Bible is God’s insurance policy. There are over 6000 promises in the Bible which you can claim. Many of you cannot claim them because you don’t even know they’re there. As you read the policy manual find out what God has guaranteed to do in your life. Once you know those guarantees you don’t have to worry.
Matthew 6:31-33 GNT – “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ 32 (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33 Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things.
The real reason that people are unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled is because Jesus Christ is not the center of their lives. They are looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places. They run from this to that… looking for something that is going to satisfy them. From relationship to relationship, from job to job, from hobby to sports to recreation … fads, therapy, books, seminar — looking for the key. But God has laid it out very clearly. You were made with a God shaped vacuum in your life and nothing will fill that void except God.
When you try to find satisfaction in life through people, fads, popularity, prestige… they don’t last. Discontent just means that Jesus Christ is not the center of my life. When I’m not contented it means I’m looking for something else.
· What are you chasing? Unless you are chasing God, you will never be satisfied.
· Maybe Mick Jagger was right – “I can’t get no satisfaction.”
Matthew 5:6 AMP – “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied. (full, content)
God wants you to have a happy, fulfilling, satisfying life. He said it. “I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly.”
REMEMBER: Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with God, love, grace, and gratitude!