Imprisoned, but content

In Philippians 4:11-13 Paul writes some profound words from his jail cell. He has been imprisoned for telling people about Jesus, and is writing to the Philippian church to encourage them and thank them for the way they’ve served him during this time.

He says this:

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Paul has reached a place in life where his contentment – his peace – doesn’t depend on the externals. It is not swayed by his financial status or number of friends, or material goods. He is sitting in a dark jail cell and you could argue that he’s as joyful – in Christ – as one could be this side of heaven. He is describing a kind of inner contentment many of us crave.


Steven J. Cole writes:

“Contentment means not being battered around by difficult circumstances or people, and not being wrongly seduced by prosperity, because our life is centered on a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. So no matter what happens to us or what others do to us, we have the steady assurance that the Lord is for us and He will not forsake us. The secret for contentment in every situation is to focus on the Lord – as Sovereign, as Savior, and as the Sufficient One.”

Yes. No matter what, the Lord is for us. He will not abandon us. Whatever our situation today, may we keep focused on the source of true contentment. Such joy isn’t dependent on how much, or little, we have. It relies on the love of our beautiful savior, Jesus Christ, who died for us and will one day take us to our true home. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Him.


  1. Thank you, Ali, for such a good post. I really can’t hear about this enough, being content in Him. So much comes at us each day .. . Or the opposite happens and everything stays the same for so long …I really want to stay steady with Jesus, no matter what. God bless you and yours!

    1. So true Debbie… We often find ourselves on either end of the spectrum – too frazzled or too self-sufficient… forgetting Christ and the peace he offers. May we rest in the contentment he brings us today, whatever the circumstances.
      Blessings to you dear friend 🙂

  2. I want that kind of contentment. Thanks for such an encouraging post Ali.
    He is the source of true contentment! So true…..
    At times It’s hard to be content because I am focused on the material things. But contentment won’t come as you have clearly explained. It will come as I focus on the Lord!
    Bless you…..


    1. So true Rolain! I find material things can give an “instant happiness fix” but true, lasting joy and contentment comes from dwelling on Jesus, finding strength in him and the word. It’s the harder road, but more fulfilling 🙂

  3. Oh this is good. I usually put great effort into being content, and with considerable success–but the last couple of weeks I’ve been battered, not content or grateful or anything good! Tonight I feel humbled, rather than beat up–and oh so grateful that HE is faithful no matter what people are throwing our way. God bless you so abundantly.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a tough time of it Caddo. Keep seeking his beautiful face, and holding onto who he is. He is above and beyond anything coming your way and will help you through. Hang in there, dear sister.

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