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The Secret of Joy & Contentment

Campers at a picnic table

Just like Steph Curry makes tens of thousands of 3-pointers in practice before he makes them in a game, winning the battle of contentment takes practice. If we can’t learn how to be joyful and content when the wi-fi is down, how will I experience joy and contentment in the midst of stuff that actually matters?? Sean Hill points us

Scripture

“…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

Reflect

We live in a culture where so much of our lives is concerned with the right now.  I’ll be honest…personally, the things I want, I want now, if not yesterday.  And it seems when I do get something I want – recognition, a gift, whatever – it never seems to be enough. 

In Philippians 4, Paul, a man familiar with all kinds of hardships (2 Corinthians 11:16-33), explains he has learned the secret to contentment in all situations.  What is this secret?  He tells us in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” 

Now often times we see this verse and misinterpret it to mean some kind of Christian version of the song “I Believe I Can Fly” from Space Jam.  In truth, it more so refers to the idea of “I can endure all things.”  See also: “withstand”, “bear”, etc. in any season of life if Jesus is our strength and our foundation.

Since we all wrestle with this how can we help our kids learn to be joyful and content, “whether living in plenty or in want”?

  • Communicate.  Talk about the importance of being joyful and content.  Parents, use your own experiences: give examples of things in your life you’ve desperately wanted and gotten.  Did they completely satisfy you, or never leaving you wanting again?  If you didn’t get them, how did you respond and deal with it?  Ask them about their experiences. 
  • Cultivate.  Work to cultivate a level of trust in your family (this is everyone’s job, not just parents).  Parents, strive for a relationship where your kids might be able to say, “I know I can trust Daddy” or, “I believe Mom wants the best for me”.  Let that mirror your relationship with God and flow into a trust in God as well.  “If you…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
  • Serve People.  One of the best things we do in our junior high ministry is called “Dallas Experience”. We take our students to inner-city Dallas for a week and let them serve and share Truth with others.  Serve together as a family…just start in your own backyard – it probably won’t take long before you find someone in more dire straits than you.  If you’re like me, you might tend to see the world as one movie where you’re the main character and everyone else is just in a supporting role.  There’s no better way to see the error in that than when you’re serving others!

Camper Corner

  1. What does it mean to you to be joyful and content?  How is joy different than happiness?
  2. What can your family do to develop more contentment and trust in Christ?

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