Most of us understand (at least with our heads) that contentment cannot be based on any circumstance. "Whether well-fed or hungry..." refers to any time, all the time, no matter what. That we get. What proves to be more challenging is that elusive middle step. How do we learn to get from here to there? What's the secret, Paul?
During our Philippians's discussion tonight in our Bible study, I was struck by something simple. If you read the whole chapter (and the whole book too), you see that Paul instructs us about this "mystery" of contentment. What does he say? "Rejoice always..." JOY"Be anxious about nothing, but in everything..." PRAY. "Let your gentleness be evident..." Don't be cruel or contentious. "Whatever is true, noble, right, lovely..." DWELL ON THESE THINGS.
Our contentment isn't a conjured spiritual "umph" of will-power. Contentment naturally follows a heart that is submissive to God, loving to others, and thinking about truthful and worthy things. If our fears overwhelm our heart and our mind is cluttered with deceptive and negative thoughts than we are going to struggle to maintain joy, and thus, contentment.
So, my friend, dwell on those things. Pray for God's perspective. Pray for His filtering of our thoughts and feelings. Pray that we would rejoice always!