|July 13, 2016
Greetings brothers and sisters,
I have been thinking lately about CONTENTMENT. It seems to me that too many brothers and sisters live with a sense of disappointment with life and circumstances. We don’t have enough. Each one of us can fill in the blank to identify our personal “enough.” This past Sunday we sang a song which says, “Christ is ENOUGH.” As I was singing, I confess I was convicted. Do I really believe that Jesus Christ is enough? Do I show that in my words, thoughts, and life? How can I grow in my appreciation and love for the One who is all I will ever need? He is the only One who can and will meet all of my needs.
So on Monday this week, I opened to Paul’s letter to the Philippians to read these words:
NIV Philippians 4:12 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.
This is the testimony of the Apostle Paul to people who had been very generous to him. They supported him with love, prayers, and money. He rejoices over all of these gifts.
Paul had experienced financial fullness and emptiness. He had gone to bed well fed and hungry. His life was a mixture of both wealth and poverty. The phrase that jumps off the page at me is “I have learned to be content.” This process of learning has become the pattern of his life. He relies on his secret every day. He applies it to every circumstance. He uses it on good days and bad days. It is a constant in his life.
Here is his secret: NIV Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Jesus Christ is our all-sufficient Savior! He strengthens us in every circumstance and provides for all our needs! He is our Good Shepherd—so we lack nothing (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is the “secret” for contentment.
As I studied the word “contentment,” I was so impressed by its dimensions. The word originally means to have a full stomach as the 5,000 did who Jesus miraculously fed. Jesus’ comments that the reason this crowd was to seeking to make him king was because they were well fed. (John 6:26).
Paul’s contentment seems to indicate more! It is not just to be well fed but to be satisfied with life. Paul expands the meaning to include his soul. Jesus uses our word with this meaning in the Beatitudes:
NIV Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Take a moment to assess your appetites. Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? Jesus is our righteousness and by faith in Him we are justified. Justification by faith alone in Him is the foundation of our faith. When we are confident that God has declared us righteous in His holy sight by the new birth, then we will be inspired to live life as God intended—righteously. Our appetites will be transformed! This transformation is a learning process as Paul says.
Sometimes, as Christians, we are beguiled into hungering for less satisfying food like the younger son in the pigsty (Luke 15:16). Later when he returns to his father, he is blessed with a full banquet! So it is with us! We will only be fully content as we feed on Christ the Living Bread from Heaven (John 6:35). Yes, we still love a good meal to feed our bodies! And God says all foods are given for us to enjoy as we sanctify them by prayer (1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Corinthians 10:30-31).
Let us ponder what is on our spiritual menu? Where have we been most full in our souls? Can you remember that delightful sense of contentment? If so, regularly schedule those meals in your busy life. Ask God to build your appetites for Him. This is a prayer He loves to answer!
NIV 1 Timothy 6:6-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
This Sunday night we will take a prayer walk around our property. As you know, we are negotiating the sale of a portion of it to decrease our debt. It was laid on my heart for us to commit all our property to the LORD. He gave it to us in a miraculous way many years ago. Plan to join us at 6:30 p.m. as we prayerfully march around and thank God for this gift.
Be encouraged my dear brothers and sister,