By ReFrame Media

We’ve spent the first half of this month exploring ambition, but the complement to that is contentment. How do you balance ambition with contentment? Sometimes it’s hard to know what contentment is because there are several ways to define it.

Does it mean being satisfied and liking the circumstances around us—whatever they are? Are we expected to like diseases, disappointments, and even tragedies?

Looking at it in another light, does contentment mean being satisfied with less than our best efforts at something? Can we be satisfied with a failing report card or unpaid bills? Should we be satisfied with negligence or careless efforts?

The contentment Paul is talking about here is connected first of all with God, and its spirit is captured in verse 13. Paul says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” We might understand this better if we think of contentment as being able to cope. In other words, Paul is saying, “I am confident that I can cope with any kind of circumstance, whether I like it or not, because Christ and his strength are within me.”

Think and pray

We are not expected to like everything painful that happens to us in life. But in Christ’s strength we are able to cope with any circumstance. The development of such inner strength is a healthy benchmark of our spiritual growth.

Lord, as I face circumstances today that may be different from what I would like, give me your strength to cope with them and to be content in you. For your sake, Amen


© Today, 2005. Shared with permission. Article first appeared on ReFrame Media.