The Good, the Bad, and the Unhappy

Bill Brinkworth

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:11-13

Life is not easy. There are a lot of ups, downs, and speed bumps. For some, the difficulties and challenges are greater. Such was the case with Paul. His own testimony in II Corinthians 11 reveals that he worked long hard hours, was beaten, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked, stranded in the water, robbed, faced dangers in the wilderness and sea, was lied about, suffered hunger and thirst, and suffered through the cold. Yet through all his hardships, he was able to pen, “… I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Here was a man that went through a lot, most of it while trying to serve the Lord, yet he was able to declare, “That whatever I go through, I am still happy!” What an attitude. I want some of that!

We now have a world that has much more than they would have dreamed of having 50 years ago, but with all the things they have, they still are not content. Things, despite the propaganda from the covet-vision and pleas from an unhappy population, do not fill the empty space everyone has and do not make one permanently content.

Not only does discontentment leave tremendous voids in one’s life; it can be sin. It can be sin, because it is God that provides all that we have. It is foolishness to say we have gotten anything without God’s help. Even the ungodly only have what they have because God allowed them to have the health, job, and opportunity to obtain anything they have. To not be content with what they have, is saying indirectly to God, “I don’t appreciate what you allowed me to have, and I want something else!” Gulp! When you look at it that way, it can clearly be seen as sin.

It can also be sin, because too many are trying to be fulfilled by things. They never fill the gap in their lives that only can be fulfilled by living for and obeying God. Many have found out that as soon as they got that beautiful, shiny car that they coveted for a long time, another car attracts them and they say, “I wish I had gotten that car.”

Also, longing for something that someone else has is simply “covetousness”. The tenth of the “Ten Commandments” clearly lets us know it is sin to not be satisfied with what you have and to covet what someone else has.

Those that have gained some victory over the human weakness of being discontent have many advantages. A content person will find that, since they are already happy with what they have, they will have genuine joy. When things are broken or taken away from them, their joy will not be lost; as it was never those things that gave them joy and peace in the first place. A content person will also find that they appreciate everything! This certainly is a different picture from one that is always unhappy, complaining, and never satisfied.

Several biblical principles are taught in I Timothy 6 that can help one get a better perspective on being content. They include:


Christian, we do not have to be like the world. We can be content. After having the promise of heaven and the love of God all else is pure gravy! Trusting that we have what God allows us to have can help us be more satisfied. He is the one in control; not us. We can be content during the good (abounding) times, as well as the bad (abasing) times. We can be content no matter what we are allowed to go through in this life.


“If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, you can be sure their water bill is higher.” — Laugh Book

 This article was featured in The Bible View #210.

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