If you asked me, “Who is your favorite Disney princess?” I would probably say, “Belle.” On that note, I haven’t seen the movie (cartoon) in a long time and still have yet to see the live action version (so the word favorite is loosely used). But that aside, there is an attraction at Disneyworld called “Enchanted Tales with Belle.” And this attraction has children and adults surprise Belle with the story of how she and the Beast met. Children get a picture with Belle and it is a fun way for them to get up close.
While in Florida we went to Disneyworld and saw many princesses and went on many rides, trying to do those things we thought our children would enjoy (4, 2, and 3 months). They also told us several things they wanted to do! When we went over the “Enchanted Tales with Belle” we realized the fireworks would be starting soon so we left in order to get a good spot for the fireworks. When we returned after the fireworks my wife found out the ride closed at 9pm. I was a bit disappointed and awaited the complaints of my daughters. Our oldest said without hesitation, “That’s okay. Maybe we can go on another ride.” Here I was disappointed and a little upset that this attraction closed before the rest of the park and my daughter showed a content heart. Amazing how God uses the very one’s I am commanded to bring up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (see Eph. 6:4) to teach me. Amazing and humbling!
Paul writes, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil. 4:11). The Puritan Thomas Watson said, “A gracious spirit is a contented spirit.” When we are discontent, ungratefulness is certainly close by. But not only is ungratefulness close by, we are actually discontent with God and His Sovereignty over this world and our lives. God has placed us where we are at and He is good, always acting in perfect wisdom. What was the secret Paul had learned in order to face plenty and hunger or abundance and need (see Phil. 4:12)? The answer, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:14). Now this verse gets quoted for lots of reasons, like the rallying cry of a football team going up against a much stronger foe. But the truth of it is practiced when that team gets demolished and they still have a content heart. This verse speaks first and foremost as the secret to contentment.
We should also look at the life Jesus lived. God in the flesh and yet He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, or used for His own advantage (see Phil. 2:6). Indeed Jesus Christ was in a low position, “taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7a, even doing a servants job like washing feet, see John 13:1-20). When was He in a high position on earth? As He hung upon a cross bearing the penalty of all the sins of all who would ever believe in Him. And then His exaltation came three days later when Christ was gloriously and triumphantly raised up from the grave! Christ lived a life of contentment and it is through His strength that you and I can too.