Contentment

October 9, 2008

Our country is going through the largest financial crisis since the great depression and is engaged in a protracted war in the Middle East.  In addition to these, each has the daily struggles of life.  We are concerned about our families, jobs, school and the testing of each Christian’s resolve to stand firm in their service to God.  There is much to discourage us, and without the comfort of the Scriptures, we cannot know how to confront and conquer each of these situations.  Christ warned us in Matthew 13:22 the cares of this world could very well choke us to death spiritually if we do not prepare to meet these challenges. 

How should I fight the discontentment Satan stirs in my life?  The way I find most helpful is to look to the examples of the Lord and of His apostles.  Before Jesus took on the form of man, He knew exactly what He would face while on earth and came anyway.  He knew our salvation would never happen without His sacrifice.  His resolve to do the will of His Father led Him to quietly accept the constant temptations, trials and tribulations.  He accepted His separation from God, while taking on our sins, and met the torture and death because He knew what lay ahead for Him, assuming His position by God’s side. He knew His sacrifice would bring salvation to mankind.  He was content in His role.

In addition to the example of Christ, I personally look at Paul as a role model for achieving contentment.  He, like Jesus, knew there was something far superior to all this life offers.  In 2 Timothy 4:6-8, he said he was able to keep the faith, knowing a crown of righteousness awaited him.   In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul lists the sufferings he had endured while serving God and spreading the gospel.  This same man who had endured so much for Christ’s sake tells us in Philippians 4:11-13 he was content in whatever circumstance he found himself.  How could anyone be so strong?  Well, he tells us in verse 13 that he was able to accomplish this and every other thing he did through the Lord from whom he received his strength.  The question I have to keep asking myself whenever confronted by the challenges of life is am I going to try to handle this by myself.  The answer is no, I cannot handle it alone.  Unfortunately, I often forget that and try to make a go of it alone.  More often than not, I will make a complete mess of it and ultimately have to go to my Father as I should have done in the beginning.  In Philippians 4, Paul tells us what to do and what the result will be.  With prayer, supplication and thanksgiving, let God know your anxieties.  While our fellow Christians care about us and our problems, only God can grant us the peace that surpasses anything we can imagine.  True contentment and peaceful lives come with our trust in God and by following His will for our lives as found in Philippians 4:8-9: let our minds dwell on truth, righteousness, purity, loveliness, good and studying his Scriptures and practicing them.  Then and only then will we find the peace of God.  Godliness accompanied by contentment is the source of great gain as we are told in 1 Timothy 6:6.  Paul was content in his role.

If you are struggling with anxiety over financial problems, loss of job or worry about loved ones in peril from war, go to God about it.  The sooner we realize we cannot handle these things alone and that only He has the power to help, the sooner we will experience contentment.  Remember 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (NASB).  Are you content in your role?

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