Text: Philippians 4:11-12


1. The apostle Paul had learned the secret of contentment. a. It is a secret worth learning.

b. It is one that many professed Christians have failed to learn.

2. Though happiness and contentment are not the same, it might be said that contentment is a prerequisite of happiness.

a. It is difficult to be happy while discontent.

b. Paul was not dissatisfied with his own state for he had learned the gift of contentment.

3. The word in the Greek is “autarkeia” which means entirely self-sufficient.

a. “Sufficient in oneself, self-sufficient, adequate, needing no assistance; hence, content, Phil. 4:11.” (W.E. Vine)

b. Its general idea is independence from outside circumstances—the opposite of unrest, worry and anxiety.

4. The apostle Paul personified the definition.

a. He could face anything—could have nothing or all things, it made no difference—because he had Christ.

b. The one who walks with Christ and lives in Him can cope with anything.

I. Contentment Viewed Both Negatively and Positively A. Negatively: things in which one should not be content.

1. To live in sin or disobedience. (Rom. 6:1-2)

2. To sit and do nothing for the cause of Christ. (Titus 2:14) 3. Self. (Phil. 3:12-14)

B. Positively: the example of Paul.

1. Live in prosperity and remain faithful to God. 2. To live abased—to live without:

a. Money.

b. Youth—grow old gracefully.

c. Physical health. Paul’s thorn in the flesh. (2 Cor. 12:7-10) d. Praise or approval of others.

d. Having your own way.

Gene Taylor  1

II. Three Evidences of Discontentment

A. Murmuring—complaining—fretting. (1 Cor. 10:10) B. Anxiety. (Phil. 4:6)

C. Fear. (Phil. 4:7; Rom. 8:31-39)

III. Three Basic Elements of the Secret of Contentment

A. A realization that nothing of an earthly nature either lasts or satisfies. (Eccl. 1:8; 2 Cor. 4:16-18)

B. Confidence in the wise and loving providence of God. (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 8:28) C. The fact that one actually has God in his life. (2 John 9)

IV. How Paul Learned Contentment A. Not by accident—will is a major factor. B. Contentment is actually a by-product of:

1. Discipline. (Heb. 12:11) 2. Trust. (2 Tim. 1:12)

3. The veracity of God’s promises. (Phil. 4:6, 7, 13, 19)


1. Contentment does not come by accident.

2. Contentment comes by doing the will of the Lord, continually disciplining oneself by it.

3. Are you content? If not, learn the secret of contentment.

Gene Taylor  2