The apostle Paul was not one to worry about social status or financial stability. To the Philippians he wrote, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). Modern society has most certainly not learned what Paul had. Most people are constantly striving not only to “keep up with the Joneses,” but to surpass the Joneses in their “standard of living”—materially, that is. It seems that virtually no one is physically content. However, spiritual contentment can be found everywhere one looks. There are a number of different ways this contentment is seen.
“I believe I’m fine, so don’t waste your time.”
Very few people today believe that they are lost. Recent polls taken reveal that while most people in the United States believe in heaven, they do not believe in hell. The designation “lost soul” no longer refers to one condemned to hell, but to one simply going through a period of uncertainty. Even religiously active people generally believe that there are “many roads to heaven,” although the Bible conclusively teaches that there is only one (Matt. 7:13-14; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). With such a state of affairs, it is difficult to express to a person the importance of securing the welfare of his soul. Even though a person may be lost, others have told him that he is certain to go to heaven. Such a person will generally want to remain comfortable, rather than be urged to make drastic changes in his life.
“I’m outwardly whole, but devoid of soul.”
Some have obeyed the Gospel in years past and continue to attend worship services regularly. However, this is the full extent of their spiritual activity. They have no prayer life outside of the worship assembly; they have no time spent in Bible reading or study other than the prescribed times the church meets for this purpose; and they do not put into practice Biblical principles of living. Their motivation is not to please God; but to show respect to godly parents, to maintain friendships, or such like.
“I’ve done sufficient, to do more is not efficient.”
There are some who feel that they have done their duty in times past. They may have previously been very involved in the work of the church, but now feel that it is the responsibility of younger Christians to accomplish. Some even quit attending services altogether, arrogantly determining that they have “done enough” for a lifetime of service to the Lord. This is practical “once saved, always saved” doctrine. The apostle Paul said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). There is probably not a Christian living today whose devotion to the Lord could be compared to Paul, yet he had not yet “attained unto the resurrection of the dead,” nor unto perfection (3:11-12). Yet he continued to strive that he might attain these things.
“No matter whether all else seems to fall apart, I do the will of God from the heart.”
There is a sense of spiritual contentment that can be genuinely achieved. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:67). One who does not focus on the physical things, which can never satisfy, but on the spiritual, can find contentment in both (2 Cor. 4:18-5:1). When one is committed to fulfilling the will of God, he no longer has any need for worry: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).