“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” A. W. Tozer

Sermon #74: Contentment, Joy & Happiness - Driven by Eternity

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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.” – Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV)

This is a powerful statement, a Spiritual position – contentment.

Paul says, “I am not in need. I can make do with whatever is available, whether it is much or little.” Imagine this.

May this word minister to you today!

How could Paul say this? What was the driving force towards such an attitude?

The simple answer is - focus. Paul did not focus on the things of the world. His focus was on things above; that is what he was passionate about. Paul was driven by eternity, not by his surroundings.

As Christians, we live in the world, but we are not of it – that’s what Jesus taught us. We are, as it where, spirits looking at the world from above. We should never be moved by the things of this world, only by Spiritual things. 

Paul said, “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.” - Philippians 4: 12 (NIV) O how I wish every Christian would learn this secret – it would surely solve a number of problems and ward off so many risks and heartaches that some Christians face in this generation.

I do not want to sound critical, but I think too many Christians are chasing material things more than they are seeking Christ. Such people are driven by this world, not by eternity; they are looking at the things of this world more than they look at the things above. There surely is an urgent need for change in the body of Christ.

A person who is driven by material things cannot live a joyful life. This is because joy is independent of any outside factors. Take the example of Paul – he was content in every situation; he therefore could afford to be full of joy always.

Joy, hence contentment, is a fruit of the Spirit. Listen to this: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” - Galatians 5:22 (NIV) 

If you are filled with the Spirit, you will be joyful always because joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

This should be easy to understand - joy comes from the Spirit. It does not come from food, property or clothing. Of course happiness does come from such things. That is why the worldly are sometimes happy and sometimes unhappy depending on the state of their possessions.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” - Philippians 4:4 (NIV). I think you now understand why Paul gave this instruction. I want you to especially note the use of the word ‘always’. It means always.

The following verses can give you further insight into the topic under discussion:
  • “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” - Acts 2:28 (NIV). I dare to say that the only condition precedent for joy is to be in the presence of the Lord. 
  • “I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds” - 2 Corinthians 7:4 (NIV). Note this – Paul’s joy knew no bounds even in the face of troubles. If joy were related to external circumstances, there would have been no way Paul could have overflowed with joy under such conditions.
  • “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” - 2 Corinthians 8:2 (NIV). Their joy overflowed in the midst of severe trial and extreme poverty. 
  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” - Galatians 5:22 (NIV) 
So “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” - Philippians 4:4 (NIV)


Learn to be content. Let eternity drive you. Look at the things above, not at the things below. You are a spirit being, not a physical body!