Saturday, August 2, 2014

Being Content

You say, "If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied." You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.   
Charles Spurgeon
When I was younger, I remember hearing a sermon by my pastor, Dr. B. J. Martin, on Philippians 4:11 where Paul states:  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  I felt lucky that I would be content in “whatever state I was in” because I lived in the great state of Texas.  Even though there are many blessings and advantages to living in the state of Texas, there is definitely more to Paul’s theology than that.

Circumstances did not determine contentment for Joseph when he was sold into slavery or wrongly accused of adultery; or Job when he lost children, livestock, reputation, and health; or Jesus when he was wrongly accused and condemned, but willingly died for our sins; or  Paul when he was imprisoned for sharing the good news about Jesus.
I am learning that “Being Content”…
… is a daily and sometimes a minute by minute choice.
… does not depend on what I have or do not have materially.
… is not determined by my health.
… is not measured by how family or friends respond.
… is not controlled by circumstances.
… has everything to do with knowing Jesus, entrusting my life to his care, and willingly following His lead.
… happens when I remember and believe that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.  Matthew 5:5 (The Message)

Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.” 
John 14:8 (NIV)

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 all this through him who gives me strength. 
Philippians 4:11-13 (The Message)
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:5-11

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