3 ways to remain content during our time at home

May 21, 2020

It’s been two months now that most, if not all of us, have been under some kind of stay-at-home order or quarantine due to COVID-19. Though many states are starting to slowly loosen some restrictions, our circumstances will probably not return to the ‘normal’ we once knew anytime soon. 

Our lives have been turned upside down with the many changes that suddenly came upon our country. Whether it has to do with jobs changing or being lost, kids being home from school, not being able to meet together at church, or not being able to see friends or family, these changes have been hard. For some, this has probably been one of the hardest periods in their lives.

In the midst of the turmoil and hardship, I have been reminded of Paul’s words to the Philippians about remaining content amidst whatever situation:

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13).

It is easy for me to be content when everything seems to be going my way, but when things get hard, contentment becomes hard too. In our flesh, it is far easier to notice what we don’t have than to be content with what we do have. This was no different for Paul, who was writing this letter from prison. He had endured much in his life since turning to Christ (See 2 Cor. 11:16-12:10). Yet, despite his circumstances, Paul tells the Philippians that he has learned the secret of being content regardless of his circumstances. What was this secret?

Regardless of his situation, Paul knew that the one constant through it all was God and his character. God was the one Paul could take refuge in and receive strength from to get through the day, whatever it held.

The answer lies in verse 13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Regardless of his situation, Paul knew that the one constant through it all was God and his character. God was the one Paul could take refuge in and receive strength from to get through the day, whatever it held.

So, how do we remain content during our own challenges today? 

First, we need to remember that contentment is not the same as happiness. Like I mentioned before, it’s easy to be content if we are happy about our circumstances. However, true contentment shines through in the midst of hardships because it points beyond our circumstances to the God who sustains us. This was the type of contentment Paul had because, regardless of his situation, his contentment was in God himself, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Paul probably wasn’t happy about being imprisoned, but he was still content he belonged to the Lord, whether in life or in death. 

Second, we need to recognize the difference between worldly contentment and godly contentment. The word in Greek that Paul uses for being ‘content’ (autarkeia) actually had a secular meaning in wider Greek culture that literally meant to be ‘self-sufficient.’ Greek stoics valued a person who was able to be self-sufficient, didn’t need anyone else, and didn’t desire more than what he already had. However, when Paul uses this word, it has quite the opposite connotation. Godly contentment doesn’t seek to be sufficient in ourselves, but recognizes our dependence on God and that our sufficiency is found in him. Likewise, godly contentment doesn’t come through the suppression of our desires but in finding their fulfillment in Christ. It’s not necessarily wrong for us to desire better circumstances, but if our desires try to find their ultimate fulfilment through improving our circumstances, then we will never be satisfied. Only in Jesus can our desires be truly met.

Lastly, we need to realize that contentment is a skill that can be practiced and cultivated, not merely an emotion that we try and conjure up when things are hard. Earlier in Philippians 4, Paul gives spiritual wisdom that can greatly help toward becoming content:

  1. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (v 4). Rejoicing and being thankful is probably one of the greatest cures for being discontent because it forces you to stop focusing on what you don’t have in your current circumstances and to be grateful for what you do have, both in this world and in Christ.
  2. “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand” (v 5). By remembering that this world is not ultimately our home, that one day Jesus will return as a conquering king, and that we will live with him in eternity, it helps to put our worldly troubles in perspective. The difficulties that we experience now pale in comparison to what we will one day experience. (Also see Rom. 8:18-30; 2 Cor. 4:17-18)
  3. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (vv 6-7). We should never think that God grows weary of hearing our prayers and petitions to him. God desires us to come to him with all our needs. Yet, he also calls us to trust in his faithfulness. That is when the peace of God will fill our hearts.
  4. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (v 8). Much of our discontentment can come from lies that we believe or by simply focusing on the negative things which are a part of our lives. While we aren’t called to ignore our negative circumstances, turning our attention toward what is true, honorable, just, etc., puts the negative in its proper perspective. (Also see Col. 3:1-2)
  5. “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (v 9). Put these principles into practice, and over time, you will gain greater contentment and peace. Paul didn’t suddenly wake up one day with perfect contentment. He learned it through years of hardship.


In the face of the coronavirus, we are facing unprecedented challenges and hardships in our homes, in our country, and in our churches. Finding contentment is most certainly not an easy thing to do, but it is arguably what God is seeking to cultivate in many of our hearts, including my own. I deeply miss meeting together with members of my church, with my friends, going out to restaurants, and doing all the regular things I’m used to. Yet, it is these hard circumstances that I pray the Lord uses to grow a spirit of contentment in my heart, as I seek to find fulfilment for all of my desires in him alone.

Neal Hardin

Neal Hardin grew up in Murrieta, CA before getting his BS in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Utah in 2012. Following that, he worked as an engineer for 4 years at a steel mill before the Lord called him to pursue a seminary education in 2016. Neal is currently a … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24