If you’re looking to dive deeper into what the Bible says about this topic, here’s a suggested Reading Plan, one passage per day for a whole week, based on the sermon:
- MONDAY: Philippians 1
- TUESDAY: Philippians 2
- WEDNESDAY: Philippians 3
- THURSDAY: Philippians 4
- FRIDAY: Psalm 139
- SATURDAY: 1 Timothy 6
- SUNDAY: James 5:7-20
eGroup Discussion Questions – Great for personal reflection/journaling, too!
Sermon Notes: “Chasing Contentment” ⤵️
Preacher: Wade Joye
Passage: Philippians 4:6-13
Title: Chasing Contentment
Date: October 13, 2019
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-13, NIV, emphasis mine
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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Wade begins his sermon with a story about riding a bicycle back in second grade the 80s, and how his parents did not let him travel beyond a certain stop sign in his neighborhood, but his friends would go beyond the stop sign and leave him back. He returned to his house one day, moping, and wrote his first song, which went something like this: “Nobody understands me,” over and over.
This feeling hasn’t changed from second grade to adulthood: the feeling of missing out on something… How can I be happy if there’s a whole neighborhood beyond the stop sign?
We falsely tell ourselves that Contentment = Perfection, or pretending to be perfect.
Contentment is hard to have in the valley,
But it’s also hard on the mountaintop,
When we compare ourselves to other mountaintops.
Contentment is hard when we deal with…
- Bad diagnoses
- Spouse walking out on you
We falsely tell ourselves “Maybe I can be content if I get the perfect job, become my true Enneagram self,” etc. We can fall into the trap of thinking contentment will come in the next season.
There’s a secret to being content IN your situation but not WITH your situation. (Philippians 4:12)
Even so, it doesn’t matter what preposition you use, it doesn’t change how we feel. We still want the circumstances to change. We are still miserable.
Stop chasing contentment. Practice it. (Philippians 4:9)
It takes work. It’s not something you can magically download.
I don’t have to think about playing chords on the guitar—I practiced them.
You have to practice it so that what seems unnatural becomes natural.
Three ways to practice contentment:
1. Practice the Petition (4:6)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philippians 4:6, NIV, emphasis mine
Wade shares a story about his daughter being happy that her mom took her to a particular restaurant, Genghis Grill, even though they go there all the time. She expected her mom to say, “No.”
I feel like God’s disposition toward me is, “No.” Even though God has said “Yes” and “Yes” over and over to me, I don’t want to be disappointed when I get a “No,“ so I lower expectations.
Now contentment becomes complacency.
Paul (who wrote this letter from prison) doesn’t say to accept the situation, he says, “Ask!” The first step is being honest with what we want. If we don’t, we start to believe the lie that God doesn’t care. You can’t have contentment without hope.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,Proverbs 13:12, NIV
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
[Nick: I loved this point about our posture and God’s disposition. My mind began to consider, “How do we have an attitude of expectation without it becoming entitlement?” And very quickly God showed me the answer right in this passage: “with thanksgiving.” An attitude of holy expectation includes gratitude, while an attitude of unholy entitlement does not.]
2. Practice the Pivot (4:8)
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.Philippians 4:8, NIV, emphasis mine
Pivot your focus from fear to whatever fuels your faith:
The true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Contentment isn’t a feeling; it’s a focus. And it doesn’t come naturally.
Nothing pivots our hearts to God like worship.
Wade shares a story of how he was practicing for this sermon in the worship center, when a man who is working on something comes in to work. Wade feels awkward preaching to one person (who is working on something else) so he mumbles to himself. The man says, “You don’t have to mumble; I love a good word,” and proceeds to sit in the front row. When Wade looks back at his notes, it’s this section, “Practice the pivot.” He was frustrated by this man, but he pivoted away from his feelings and towards God’s opportunity to reach this man who had not been going to church, but afterwards said that he has been thinking about going.
3. Practice the Present (4:9)
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:9, NIV, emphasis mine
The hardest thing to do is to be present in the moment, in each season.
We’re tempted to look beyond “the stop sign” and say, “Nobody understands me.” We do this by looking through our phones at other people’s lives.
You will never be content in the next season if you don’t first practice contentment in this season.
Even if you don’t feel peace, God is with you.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?Psalm 139:7-10, NIV
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
You don’t have to chase contentment.
Contentment has been chasing you
in the form of Jesus Christ.
Two sentence prayer to pivot your heart:
You are good.
You are with me.