Contentment is the ultimate acceptance of ourselves, our surroundings, our past, and our future. For a believer, finding contentment should take no effort whatsoever, right? I mean, Jesus has paid the price for our sin and He has given us a secure future of eternity in His presence, free of all pain and sorrow. His Word assures us of this:
Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
The suffering we experience now should be viewed in light of an eternity to be spent with the Saviour – Revelation 21:7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” God provided a way for us to be rescued from an eternity in hell–He is sufficient to meet our needs in this world that He created – Philippians 4:13, 19 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me…But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
As we travel through this journey of life, we find that this blessed state of contentment is not as easy as just saying God’s Word says such and such, so that should give us the contentment we need. Feeling satisfied when we have very real unmet needs, not letting ourselves worry when we have overwhelming concerns, having patience in letting God work when pressures abound (Be still and know that I am God)–these seem like impossible dreams. Happiness–despite heartaches caused by the past, in the midst of tragedies experienced in the present, based on promises trusted for the future–is not merely a human pursuit, but demands spiritual resources only found in the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is not possible for us to overcome life’s bumps and valleys all on our own. God does not expect us to. That is why He sent His Holy Spirit as our Helper, and He gave us His Word to meditate on daily.
God chose not to just give us contentment as a gift, for His purpose. He chose rather to teach us to be content as we allow Him to be the ruler in our lives. Contentment is something that we must learn – Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” As we trust God’s gifts to be sufficient and His assignments to be appropriate, we can accept the way we look, the means we have been given for provision, the family in which we are living, the struggles through which we have gone, the jobs we now have, being content and fulfilled in all – 2 Corinthians 3:5, 6 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” and 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” God, through His Holy Spirit, taught Paul to be strong yet content in whatever infirmity he would experience, and we know that Paul suffered more infirmities for the cause of Christ than anyone. When we truly realize that God is in control of all things, it makes it easier to praise Him through our trials. He has reminded me many times as I strive to know Him more that if He has allowed “this” then He will see me through it. It is all for His glory, and rightfully so.
On the other hand, acceptance does not mean that we lie down and do nothing and just stagnate. Dissatisfaction with areas in our lives that can be changed, within Divine guidelines, may help us to see that something is missing, or something has gone awry. When this happens, we dare not adopt the “Canaan syndrome” of complaining. Remember that God’s people were not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of their murmuring – Joshua 5:6 “For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.” Instead of grumbling and complaining, “why me?” We are much better off if we take that dissatisfaction to the Lord and ask Him what He would challenge us to do. At the same time, we must be willing to be “content” as we work toward ultimate goals. This is the balance between “I have learned…to be content,” and “I can do all things through Christ.” (Philippians 4:11, 13)
We must trust that God has given us everything we need for each moment in time. We can be content with ourselves, our families, our surroundings, our jobs, or our pasts. As we allow ourselves to depend on the Lord, we are content while we pursue His goals for our lives.
1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
11 A just weight and balance are the LORD’s: all the weights of the bag are his work.
12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.
14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.
15 In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.
16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.