What can we complain about today? In a world of social medial bullying and cancel culture, we find that grumbling and complaining seem to be the norm.
I wonder what ever happened to encouraging others instead of tearing them down? And how do you even develop such a mindset? Could the secret be found in Bible verses about contentment?
What the Bible Says About Contentment
The Bible contains Proverbs on contentment, or the lack thereof. Sometimes we can understand better what something really is by looking at the complete opposite.
Antonyms for Contentment
“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” Proverbs 21:9 ESV (Also repeated in Proverbs 19:13 and Proverbs 25:24)
Today’s cancel culture and social media bullying are obvious examples of being quarrelsome.
Theaurus.com lists many opposites of the word contentment. The two that stand out to me are “disappointment” and “worry” because the Bible talks about them also. They are gateways that lead away from being content with what you have.
Synonyms for Contentment
Theaurus.com goes on to list words that can be substituted for “contentment”.
These are feelings that people want, yet look for them in all the wrong places. We can become slaves to grumbling and complaining. But in contrast, contentment sets us free.
15 Bible Verses About Contentment
We don’t have to search hard to find Bible verses about contentment. It is a prescription that mankind has needed from the beginning of time.
You see, to be contented with what you have is not something we are born with. We need the work of God in our lives to demonstrate this ever-so-needed quality.
The following are some of the Bible verses about contentment:
- Philippians 4:11-13
- Hebrews 13:5
- 1 Timothy 6:6-11
- Luke 12:15
- Matthew 6:25, 33
- Philippians 4:19
- Psalm 23:1
- 2 Corinthians 12:10
- 1 Corinthians 7:17
- Proverbs 30:8-9
- Ephesians 2:10
- Psalm 139:14
- Acts 16:16-40
- Genesis 50:20
- Romans 8:28
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Bible Verses About Contentment in Our Circumstances
Life is full of ups and downs, victories and defeats, calm and calamity.
It is easy to be content when life is going well. But what about those times when we just want to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that what happened really didn’t?
What Bible verses can help us face these life situations?
Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 ESV
When I have plenty I find it easy to be content. But when I am hungry or in need, well that is a different story. What about you?
Apparently, contentment is a secret that many never discover. Otherwise, this wording would not have been used.
The Greek phrase for “I have learned the secret” comes from a verb that implies “to instruct”. Any teacher knows that students come to the classroom with varying degrees of motivation and enthusiasm. Only those who want to learn will come away changed.
Hebrews 13:5 ESV “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The love of money will drive people to do all kinds of unethical things. Yes, we need currency to buy and sell, but striving for more only leads to emptiness.
When we have a relationship with Jesus, He is always with us and knows what we need.
Luke 12:15 ESV “And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8 ESV “But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
This passage from 1 Timothy then contains a warning that we need to pay attention to.
1 Timothy 6:9-11 “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
Lack of contentment and wanting more is a trap that will cause us great harm. For many, the end result is departing from the faith. What a tragedy.
Psalm 23:1; Matthew 6:25, 33; Philippians 4:19
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
Matthew 6:25, 33 ESV “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
You see, when you know God personally and understand His faithfulness, you find it easy to be content with what you have.
There is danger in having too much. Here is another Proverb on contentment.
Proverbs 30:8-9 “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”
Bible Verses About Being Content with Yourself
All we have to do is look at a plastic surgeon’s schedule to see that many of us are not happy with the way God made us.
Few, if any of us look in the mirror and say, “Wow, that mole on my nose or ________ is just the way I like it.” (you fill in the blank)
Some people can afford to go to a plastic surgeon, but the majority of us can not. So what do we do when there are aspects of ourselves that we wish we could change?
Lack of contentment comes from comparing ourselves to others. In some cultures, being “pleasingly plump” is a sign of affluence. In other cultures, having scars is a sign of bravery. Yet in our culture, neither are not acceptable.
1 Samuel 16:7B ESV “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Rather than comparing ourselves to others, we need to look at the Bible because it is a mirror that reflects God’s truth about us.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
It is impossible to praise God for the way He made us unless we have learned the secret of contentment.
Bible Verse about Contentment in Christ
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 ESV “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” … 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
We can endure much when we know that we are not in it alone and that there is purpose and meaning in what we go through.
God has given each of us something important to do for the Kingdom. It may be raising children, or caring for an elderly person. In Biblical times there were many slaves, and even in that less than perfect situation, a person can live for the Lord and be content.
1 Corinthians 7:17 ESV “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Who in the Bible Showed Contentment
There are many heroes of the faith with contentment Bible stories.
While Biblical circumstances may not be the same as ours today, we share the same feelings. These Bible characters had moments of fear, emotional and physical pain, loss of personal property, and loss of loved ones.
Paul and Silas
I can’t imagine how scared I would have been sitting in a filthy, dark jail, not knowing what was going to happen to me the next day. We know from history that many Christians were persecuted during this time frame.
Yet here were these two followers of Jesus singing at midnight. Were they deranged? Not at all. They knew that God works all things out for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28).
Paul and Silas knew the secret of contentment and made the most out of every situation they found themselves in. You can read their story in Acts 16:16-40.
We also know that Paul endured many other hardships for the gospel.
- Beaten at least 5 times with whips, 3 times with rods
- Stoned once with the intent to kill him (actual rocks thrown at him)
- 3 times shipwrecked using pieces of the wreckage to stay afloat
- In almost constant danger as he traveled
- Many sleepless nights due to exposure to the elements
- Hunger and thirst
Wow. And I think I have problems. You can read this account in 2 Corinthians 11:24-29.
Despite all he endured, Paul was the apostle who wrote, “I can do all things through Christ”. Yes, he knew the secret of contentment.
Joseph is one of my favorite contentment Bible stories. Sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, he did not see his family again until years later.
Once he arrived in Egypt, Joseph was assigned to work for a man named Potiphar. Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife had eyes for Joseph because he was a good-looking young man.
When Joseph would not accept her advances, she accused him of rape. This landed him in jail without bail. We don’t know for sure how long Joseph was in prison, but he made the most of it.
While it seemed that Joseph was forgotten, he still trusted God. Then when the time was right, he was released and promoted to be the head of Egypt’s Department of Agriculture.
After years of hardship, Joseph did not respond with resentment when he was reunited with his family. These were his words.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20 ESV
Joseph knew the secret of contentment. You can read the entire account of Joseph in Genesis chapters 37- 50.
Final Thought on these Bible Verses About Contentment
Abraham Lincoln summarized the tension between complaining and contentment when he said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
But as the apostle Paul said, we can only accomplish true contentment through Christ. A relationship with Jesus gives us the power to rise above what comes naturally, to be content in all circumstances.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 ESV
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Meet the Author
Sandy Brown is an ordinary farm girl who has been through many difficult life circumstances. She writes under the name S.K. Brown on her website, The Creator’s Classroom. She frequently discusses real-life disappointments and how to rise above them. Her passion is to help her readers know Jesus and in Him find their hope, joy, and peace. You can also find Sandy on social media at “Women Growing In Joy”, a private group, and “She Finds Hope”, a public page.