Book Club,  Soul

Finding True Contentment in an Unsatisfied World

Congratulations on making it to the final chapter of To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain by Matt Chandler. Throughout our study of Philippians, Apostle Paul has taken us on an eye-opening discovery of the mature Christian life. It is only fitting that we conclude our study with a reminder from Paul on how to find contentment in a world that thrives on the yearning for the next best thing.

Reading for the Week

Philippians 4:11-23

Chapter 12 – True Contentment

Memory Verse

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19
Philippians 4 verse 19

Learning Contentment

In the final verses of this short and profound letter, Paul shows us that he has truly learned to be content. He has learned it intellectually through studying God’s word, but more importantly, he has learned it experientially through circumstances in his life.

Matt Chandler quotes one of my favourite passages in this chapter:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Habakkuk 3v18

As you read this passage you can contemplate how nice it all sounds, but Paul encourages us to learn “the secret” of satisfaction in Christ.

Our society’s chronic dissatisfaction is woven into this fallen world’s brokenness. We will never be fully satisfied until Jesus returns.

God is set up this way, making sure that the accumulation of satisfaction other than Him will never satisfy.

Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
God made us to be satisfied in him only

God made us yearn for him and ensures that nothing in this world can satisfy that yearning. No amount of wealth or success can ever fill the Jesus-shaped void in our hearts. He made us that way.

The secret Paul learned both intellectually and experientially…is this: true contentment is not in any way related to circumstances. True contentment is tuned to the deeper reality of the gospel and God’s kingdom.

Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

True contentment means being satisfied no matter what the Lord brings on our path. Whether we are ill or thriving, poor or wealthy, we know in Jesus we have a need for nothing because through him we are loved, justified, sanctified and will be glorified.

“To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The message of Philippians is that life is lived for Him, to Him, through Him, with Him, about Him, and in Him.

Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
The message of Philippians

Riches in Glory

As he closes the letter to the Philippians, Paul thanks the congregation for their concern for him. The Philippians have learned to live a life close to God which shines out of their congregation as concern for others. He assures them that God will supply all their needs (not wants, necessarily) according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ.

We live in this in-between state of “already, but not yet” between the incarnation and return of Jesus. On that day of judgement, Jesus will step in for us, as he has already paid the full price for all our sins, and we will be raised with Him.

We want all his riches to be ours. We want to be with Him forever.

Week 9 pinterest

Therefore we press on to pursue Christ and grow in likeness to him. We want our lives to be changed by our love for Him. It is easy to become so content with ourselves and our lives that we forget about the “holy discontentment” Matt Chandler inspires us to pursue. After many years of attending church, we can fall into the trap of knowing the good things to do and giving all the right Sunday school answers without the transformation of our hearts and minds. Do we still earnestly look forward to the day of glory with the Lord? Do we still look forward to meeting him and exploding with infinite joy?

Matt Chandler reminds us in his concluding paragraphs that the gospel has changed the world, and therefore can (and should) change your and my life. The truth of the gospel should shape us day by day until that ultimate day when all our needs will be met according to God’s riches in glory with Christ.

To live truly is Christ. And to die is incomparable, infinite gain.

Matt Chandler, To live is Christ, To Die is Gain.
To live truly is Christ

Reflection Questions

Here is the full study guide for To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain.

Video Session

In the final session, Matt Chandler inspires us to rest in true contentment with Jesus Christ.

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