Contentment: Embracing our Lot

IMG_7400Why is the world so discontented? Wants and wills dance around the disquieted souls of the living. The rich want to be poor, the poor want to be rich. The old want to be young, and the young want to grow up. The one with a child wants none, and the one without mourns her womb. Under the guise of equality, compassion and social justice, we cast blame and judgement about. They fall like autumn leaves, clogging our paths with a disintegrating beauty. This will never be the solution.

Why do we search? The world knows that hope is powerful. People give up everything for the elusive in the name of hope. Hope commands strength, it commands purpose; it commands the weary to live. Yet, who knows the Name of hope? For some, they never find true hope, only fragments that taunt their soul and cast them into deep depression.

When do we rest? When do we run? When do we dare relinquish our command, and we do we fight? There is a time for both. There is a time of preparation, a time to endure, a time of reaping reward, and a time to fight for what is right. But, how do we know?

The world is full of questions, choices, consequences and battles. In the midst of this, we have a forerunner who is our hope – Jesus who has brought us into the Holy of Holies, to stand in the very presence of His Father, God. If we have this hope, it is an anchor for our soul, and we can truly live.

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” – [Hebrews 6:19-20]

Who defines “contentment”?

So then, in a world of blame and envy, in the search for what earth does not have, we can be victorious. We can embrace our lot with the peace and joy of life in Christ. We can learn to be content, and contentment is powerful because it is based upon the power of Hope found in Christ. When we have contentment, “I wish” is replaced by “I am.”

The world sees contentment differently. It defines it in success, self-reliance and independence. It is wealth, stability and rights. Where contentment for the world is based on self-sufficiency, God’s contentment is based of self-surrender. In Philippians, Paul says:

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – [Philippians 4:11-13]

The word “content” in the Greek, is “autarkés” (αὐτάρκης). It means to be satisfied in God’s fullness, an inwards sufficiency which comes through the indwelling spirit and power of Christ. Discontent breeds envy, jealousy, purposelessness and depression. Contentment gives security in ourselves, in our identity and in our purpose. It is not dependent on skill, on others or on circumstance. Furthermore, we can LEARN contentment – to seek God and find our contentment in Him.

Our GardenThe root and fruit of contentment

When we are content in Christ, we are:

1. CONTENT IN CHRIST:
Knowing who He is, knowing His love, the assurance of
His faithfulness, faith in His plans/ in the Father’s will.

2. CONTENT IN OUR INDENTITY:
We know who we are in Christ.

3. CONTENT IN OUR CALLING:
We know we have been made in God’s image to fulfil the things of His will
– to love God, love others, and to proclaim the gospel.

Consider the following verses:

  • [Ephesians 3:16-19]“… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

 

  • [Isaiah 55:2-3]“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you – The sure mercies of David.”

 

  • [Psalm 63:2-5]“So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see your power and Your glory. Because your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.”

 

In the verses above, we have descriptions of the elements that satisfy or fill our soul. These include understanding Christ’s love and being rooted in it, being strengthened in our inner being through faith, listening to the word of God, and worshipping God. These are the roots of contentment, elements that nurture contentment within our soul, and allow it to blossom. Such contentment bears spiritual fruit.

WHEN WE ARE CONTENT IN CHRIST,
we trust His judgement, submit to His ways and know that He is good
[James 4:11-12, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 34:8]

WHEN WE ARE CONTENT IN OUR INDENTITY,
we let the old die and obtain a new life in Christ. Our heart belongs to Him
and we know that He lives in us, and that we are found in Him.
[2 Corinthians 6:16, Galatians 2:20, Proverbs 21:2]

WHEN WE ARE CONTENT IN OUR CALLING,
we work for reward from Christ, not man. We discover treasure in the
mundane and we work with purpose, knowing our hope before us.
[Colossians 3:23-24, Hebrews 13:2, Philippians 3:14]

Contentment does not depend on circumstance. We can be content in the low times, and in abundance. Job, and King David both experienced great loss and great blessing. Both men, despite deep emotional experiences, harboured a deeper contentment, rooted in their faith. They knew God was good, and they knew God loved them. They knew God was for them and would never forsake them. Knowing this, they submitted themselves and their lives fully into His hands, knowing that He would guide their paths. This contentment kept them living and kept them hoping in God who cannot fail.

IMG_7390

Are you content?

Contentment comes from trusting God in all situations. Are you content in Christ, in your identity, and in your calling? Are there areas of your life that are discontented? Write these down and surrender them to God.

  • Do you harbour any resentment against God?
  • Are you confident in your identity as a child of God?
  • Do you know your eternal purpose, your purpose in living on earth?
  • What fruits of contentment or discontentment do you see in your life?

PRAY – Speak to God, declare what He says in His word about Himself, about your identity in Him and about your purpose. Ask for revelation and hope in His word!


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