Spiritual Contentment

Are You Content?

What does being content mean to you? The way the Bible uses contentment is to be self-sufficient and able to peacefully exist under any given circumstances. In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul writes about contentment from confinement, and he claims that he can find that contentment in even the most trying of times. Despite the negative circumstances, he could cope through his relationship with Christ.

If contentment is something God wants me to have, then we have to know where to find it. I Timothy 6:6-8 records Paul encouraging contentment with the simple fulfillment of needs, and he ties godliness to this state of mind. Falling into a trap of continuously coveting more – feeling like we cannot have enough – leads to discontent and losing sight of God’s role in our lives as illustrated in verses 9-11.

In II Corinthians 9:8, we are described as able to be all-sufficient in God’s grace. He provides for our needs, leading us into and providing opportunity for good works. Also, Jesus speaks to the transitory nature of possessions in Matthew 6, and, in verse 25, Jesus tells us to be more worried about the condition of our souls than the condition of our things. He tells us that God knows of our needs. As a result, our priority should be seeking Him according to verse 33.

Areas To Avoid Contentment

Our spiritual activities should provide contentment in our lives, and our primary concern should be our relationship with God. However, there are some things with which we should not be content.

  • There are times we should not be content with our current lifestyles. Romans 12:1-2 and I Corinthians 6:9-11 make it clear that we should not be satisfied when we live in certain ways. If my actions, my speech, my attitude is incorrect, we need to change.
  • We should not be content in merely saying without doing. In Matthew 23, Jesus is very critical of the Pharisees of His time for not practicing those things they teach. He scolds them as hypocrites for not living up to the standards they set for others, and this is a trap we should be careful to avoid.
  • We should not be content in just attending services. Coming to church does not automatically mean my relationship with God is correct. We should be living His word at all times – not merely at the prescribed times we come together. In Mark 16:15, we are told to spread the gospel to all creation.

In Ephesians 4:16, Paul tells us we all need to work together in love to build up the body. Inner contentment comes from God, but self-contentment can be dangerous to our souls.


In John 16:33, Jesus says that tribulation comes from the world, but He has overcome that world to provide us peace. We may need more contentment in our lives while needing to avoid contentment in some areas. In all this, we can find inner peace in Jesus.

lesson by Tim Smelser