Have you ever felt a general sense of restlessness, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, a yearning for something more, but can’t put your finger on why? I think we all experience it at times, not realizing what we’re missing. We know we're missing something, so we begin to search for it. We may think it’s from a lack of fulfillment at work, or a troubled marriage, or never having enough money, or feeling the mundane as a stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately, too often we look in all the wrong places for something to fill our inner need for contentment. Some people look to food while others look to alcohol or drugs. Often we look to others or to our career to somehow make us feel good. But the only source that can fill that empty space is Jesus living inside us.
You may not know that when the apostle Paul wrote the Philippians to "not be anxious for anything," he was in a prison cell awaiting a trial that could end in a death sentence. He had a long list of reasons for anxiety, fear, and discontentment. Paul gave a clear statement as to his antidote for anxiety: “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 4:6--7). He was saying, "My life is on the line, but my peace and joy don't come from my circumstances. They come from the fact that God is with me. He is the source of my strength and peace."
When you're feeling anxious and discontent, I encourage you to meditate on all the words of Philippians 4, and especially these words: "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 all this through Christ who gives me strength." Paul learned the profound secret that contentment in his relationship with Christ is a powerful state of mind. He learned that because Christ was living in him, he could do all things with Christ strengthening him. In Christ, Paul was full of peace, joy, and contentment even when alone in a prison cell.
Contentment is defined as a "state of peaceful happiness," an attitude that has nothing to do with where you are or what you have. Proverbs 15:15 says, "For the happy heart, life is a continual feast." Can I encourage you to feast on the fact that Christ Jesus lives inside you? He’s helping you through whatever you’re going through. It's the "I can through Him that's going to give you the strength to do it!