“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”(Philippians 3:12, 4:11, NKJV).
Is it possible to be content but dissatisfied? In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes that he is continuing to press into, contend for, Christ and His cause, but simultaneously content in his current circumstances. What an interesting irony.
Might Paul be communicating one of the secrets to being a wholehearted disciple? Is it the interior work of the Spirit within us, (of intimacy with Christ), producing an inner contentment, that radically transforms our heart with a passion for more of God? It is the interior work of God working in us, that gives us an acute passion for God working through us in the exterior of our lifestyle.
Recently, a young man, who often speaks to Olympic athletes, told me that he had just heard my message on, “sanctified dissatisfaction,” and said that it resonated with his experience with world class athletes. Those who become champions, are not always athletes with the best natural ability or the most physical skill, but rather, those with a certain type of mindset, a dissatisfaction with their current abilities and a drive to continually improve.
Paul is encouraging us to contend for more, but be content with the process. The focus is the journey. The wholehearted disciple is content to realize the journey is the destination. It is in knowing Christ that Christ knows us. He made us for something. This something is the destiny of our lives. It’s in the pursuit that we find our contentment.
Content but contending,
Steve Holt D.D. MA