The Secret to a Satisfied Life

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:

  1. 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!

SELFIE Pt.2 – Living a Generous Life

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SELFIE Pt 2 – Living a Generous Life

2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV- You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

SELFISHNESS – devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others

There’s 2 types of people: #1 People who are selfish & consume & always want to know what’s in it for them, #2 People who are selfless & contribute & always want to know what they can do for somebody else. We need more #2′s

John D Rockefeller said, “I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind, and that only in purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.”

Mark 8:35 NLT – “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.”

•Over 800 verses in the Bible about the subject of Money. It’s addressed more than heaven and hell. 16 of 38 stories Jesus told were about money and man.

The story is told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for alms from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler, no right to even life a solicitous hand. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. A courtier was astonished at his generosity and commented, “Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need. Why give him gold?”

Alexander responded in royal fashion “Copper would suit the beggar’s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving.”

Very few people these days, have “the Great” added to their names. When we think of Alexander the Great, most people think of the historical figure, who was young, eccentric, a brilliant military strategist with blond hair and bulging muscles and looks like Colin Farrell. However, one of the secrets of all greatness is revealed through generosity.

He didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. But his way of thinking challenged the thinking of not just the courier, but everyone who had the privilege of being in the presence of greatness. He just didn’t subdued kingdoms with superior military strategy, but conquered mediocrity through his generous life.

“Your standard of giving reflects your standard of living”

•We find meaning by giving our lives away
Acts 20:35 It is more blessed to give than to receive. (God’s concept)

•THE KEY TO A Selfless LIFE IS A HEART OF GENEROSITY.


Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV 24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

•Generosity doesn’t start when you have a lot, it starts when you have little!
• Your giving and generosity should be directly tied to what God allows to come into your life.



2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…

Generosity is quality of heart and mind opposed to meanness

•What is Generosity? It’s literally “Freedom from meanness or smallness of mind and character. Meanness is born out of selfishness and selfishness is born out of self preservation.

•Generosity: A courageous disposition full of the Spirit, that is evidenced by:
•A quality of heart and mind opposed to meanness
•A nobleness of soul that is empowered to bestow favor
•A bountiful disposition that is free to give with bold liberality

When you are generous, you are free from the smallness of your own mind. Smallness of mind is when you are focused on you and what you need, not the needs of others.

Generosity goes against our nature. Andy Stanley said it best when he said, “by nature the concept of generosity is in direct conflict with the concept of self preservation”

Luke 16:9 NLT – 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. (In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven)

•”There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there” Col. Sanders (he gave $2 million to the AG missions prior to his death)

•”Generosity is a good criterion of a person’s mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people” Dr. Karl Menninger

How can you begin to develop a generous spirit that leads to a generous life?

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Noble – One who because of elevation of mind (think), becomes heroic (be) by doing deeds “uncommonly” well with excellence as the standard (do)

“When you elevate your thinking, you elevate your life”

Generosity is not just meeting the needs of “Beggars” or need people so that we feel better about ourselves. It’s a way of thinking, being, and doing life that becomes heroic by approaching life with an extravagant God-like excellence.

God’s desire for us is to think….be…do life like Him. We elevate our thinking when we put God first with our time, talent, and treasure.

The Result of Generosity

Everything you need will be added unto you
Matthew 6:33 (NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Your Children will be Blessed
Psalm 37:25-26 NIV- I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread. They are always generous…their children will be blessed.

Good will come to you (The Favor of God)
Psalm 112:5 NIV Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

You will prosper and be refreshed
Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV One man gives freely, yet gains even more (gets larger and larger); another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
another translation – “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed. Those who help others are helped.”

BONUS – Treasures in Heaven
a. I Timothy 6:18-19 “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasures.

God has called us to a generous life, because the world needs to see a generous God! I want to challenge you to be generous. Love generously, give generously and live generously!

Our Generosity is a reflection of the generosity of God!

Love always finds a way: selfishness always finds an excuse!

God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. You were put on Earth to make a contribution.

You weren’t created just to consume resources – to eat, breath, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. God wants to you to give something back!

•There’s a clever young guy named Somebody Else, There’s nothing this guy cannot do. He is busy from morning till way late at night, Just substituting for you.

You’re asked to do this or you’re asked to do that And what is your reply?
Get Somebody Else to do that job, He’ll do it much better than I.

So much to do in this weary old world, So much and workers so few,
And Somebody Else, all weary and worn, Is still substituting for you.

Are you content to let Somebody Else serve & give?


•”Do all the good you can, In all the ways you can, To all the souls you can, In every place you can, At all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, As long as you can.” John Wesley

Generosity Brings absolute fulfillment

Matthew 25:21 – “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things so; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

#Selfie Part 1

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#Selfie: The Best Angle Part 1

A “selfie” is defined as a self-portrait intended for social media. We all crave affirmation from others and with things like Twitter, and Instagram it’s easy to get a quick fix. In the start of this series, we look at the selfie not from the angle of the photo, but the perspective of the person taking the photo. The Oxford dictionary word of the year in 2013 was selfie

(Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV) “You were taught…to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

You will never change your #Selfie until you change the way you think about God and yourSelfie.

My Selfie Needs

•Community •Love •Acceptance

The Best Angle

(Matthew 3:16-17 NIV) As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

1. God Chose you.

(Ephesians 1:5 NLT) “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”

John 15:16 NIV – You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (said to Jill & Eustace)

The Greek verb translated “chose” means, “to select or pick for oneself” (Aslan

NO ONE IS EVER CAPABLE OR INCLINED TO CHOOSE GOD UNLESS GOD FIRST CHOSE HIM.

IT IS ONLY THROUGH CHRIST AND WHAT HE DID FOR US, NOT THROUGH ANYTHING IN US, THAT WE MAY BE SAVED.

Deuteronomy 14:2 ESV – For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

2. God Loves You.

Imagine a stormy day at sea, your ship yielding to a relentless wind, pummeled by crashing waves, subject to the awesome force of nature. A force that is both fierce and majestic. A power that is nothing short of furious.

Such is God’s intense, consuming love for YOU. It’s a love that knows no limits, and no boundaries. A love that will go to any lengths, and take any risks, to pursue us.

(Romans 5:8 NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

•God doesn’t love us for what we do, but He loves us because of who He is (God is love)

•Our attractions are based upon our preferences. God loves us for what He finds in Himself…Love.

•Nobody is ever what they should be – but God loves us anyway. No matter what you do God will not stop love you.

•Our Ego Selfie – we focus on what we have to do to please God and make him love us

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.”

(Romans 8:35, 38-39 NLT) “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow— not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Call of Salvation is not “Come and get right so God will love you and bless you” The Call of Salvation is Come! You Are Loved! God loves imperfect people, moral misfits, burned out believers, religious incompetants.

God is kissing the unkissable. Not because we are good, deserving, or right, but because HE LOVES US and FORGAVE US.

Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

•God sees the best in the worst of us, knows the worst about the best of us, and loves us without condition or exception.

3. God Forgives You

(Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV) “In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace, which he has given to us so fully and freely.”

•The wonderful news of eternal relief is that God is a Forgiving God

Psalm 103:12 NIV – as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us

•God won’t just take your sin from you; He’ll put it so far away you can’t find it anymore. That’s how forgiven you are!

II Cor. 5:19 – That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting mens sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Micah 7:18 NIV – Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression  of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

“In one bold stroke, forgiveness obliterates the past and permits us to enter the land of new beginnings.” – Billy Graham

Happy – The Secret to a Satisfying Life

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Happy – The Secret to a Satisfying Life

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.

If you were to believe what the commercials tell you, you would believe that contentment was something that could be sprayed on, rolled, inhaled, eaten or driven. As if all of these products would give you lasting happiness. They don’t.

What is the secret of a happy satisfying life? If you could bottle contentment you could make a million dollars overnight.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”

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.

Philippians 4:11b – “… for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

“Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy”

2 Cor. 4:18 “We do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven … The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come 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 tto 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.” As your income
goes up, so does your expenses.

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:

1) 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.

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

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.

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!