Thought- Everything else fails to satisfy in the long run except the love of Jesus.
Scripture- “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:11-13
Insight: In day 18 of learning to apply biblical principles to our daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider what it means to have deep contentment due to our relationship with Jesus. How do get deep contentment, how do we apply it daily and how can we use it to impact others for the Kingdom of God? Those are questions I grapple with consistently. It is sometimes very hard to find lasting contentment in this world because things are so in flux. Nothing ever stays the same very long. You can have a great year in business one year and the next be out of a job because of Corporate downsizing or a new boss who doesn’t like you the same as the old boss. You can have your world rocked by things over which you have no control, like an act of nature. Relationships can seem stable one day, and dissolving the next. Wealth gives the allure of contentment, but it seldom lasts and many times robs people of peace as they struggle to simply “protect’ what they have accumulated, or are constantly striving to gain even more. The point is, we need to know where to look to find true, deep and lasting contentment. Luckily, we have the Apostle Paul as a role model we can all follow. The verse above from Philippians 4:11-13 gives us a good starting point in how to view finding contentment. Paul had no easy road as an Apostle, yet he found deep and unbreakable contentment. To summarize just a few of his hardships, Paul was almost stoned to death, many times beaten, flogged, imprisoned, shipwrecked, starved, sleepless and almost always weary and yet he was content? What kind of guy was this?
So, the question for us is how do we find contentment? I believe our focus becomes our reality. We can’t have contentment and envy at the same time. If we focus on all the things that we perceive to lack in our life, we can’t find contentment. It doesn’t matter how much we have, it will never be enough. On the other hand, if we focus on all that we have been given in Christ Jesus, namely unimaginable grace, forgiveness of all our sins and the promise of eternal life in His glorious kingdom, then we can find contentment, like Paul, in even the worst circumstances. Proverbs 14:30 says ” A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” When we think of what hardships Paul endured, and yet he was still able to find contentment, the only plausible answer is his contentment was found in Christ. Some 2,000 years later, I feel the answer is still the same. Though I wonder off the path many times and am vulnerable to my own sinful nature, which includes all those things that bring look promising but always bring discontentment, I find peace when I get before my King and rest. There is no condemnation in Christ, only contentment. I am learning to go there more and more. Someday, I will never leave.
Prayer: Father God, help us to stop looking for contentment in all the wrong places and to simply turn to your Son, Jesus Christ, the author of all true, deep and lasting contentment. It doesn’t exist anywhere else. We pray for this clarity to keep us from envy and to find rest and peace for our bodies, minds and soul in Him alone. Amen!