Are You Content?
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Phil. 4:11-13
The apostle Paul was such a phenomenal example in how he served God. Not only did he roll up his sleeves, sweat, labor, get dirty, and go through countless trials as he chased after the Lord and poured out his heart, love, time, and care as he forsook all of any semblance of a normal life for that time and culture to preach the Lord Jesus Christ, but he did so with contentment. Unbelievable. Amazing. Awesome. That he could be content despite the unfathomable trials he went through is astonishing, isn’t it? Not to mention convicting. It is to me anyway. Is it to you?
For if the truth be told, the more the Lord has been turning up the heat on the little refining fire He is taking me through as He teaches me His ways and perfects His love in me to conform me to Christ’s image, the more discontent, disgruntled, and discouraged I have found myself lately. Why? Because my flesh has been uncomfortable with the responsibilities He has given me coupled with ongoing challenges. Time and again, I have cried out to Him, “I can’t do this anymore! I won’t do this anymore! I can’t take this anymore!” Content? No. Everything but. My responsibilities and challenges are nothing compared with those Paul faced let alone with what so much of this world faces today, yet still I’ve struggled.
What was the key for Paul? And what is the key for those of us who need to learn to be content as I do? Simple. And something God’s Spirit lays upon my heart is my answer – and yours – even as I write this. Simple and obvious. JESUS CHRIST. Paul was able to be content because his hope, trust, faith, love, peace, rest, joy, thankfulness, and CONTENTMENT were IN Jesus Christ. NOT in His unfathomably hard circumstances, but in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the same now and forever. No matter the roller coaster ride of challenges he faced, his heart was in Christ. His focus was on Christ. He LIFE was in Christ. He lived and labored for Christ!
How can you and I find contentment? By taking our focus off our circumstances, challenging though they may be, and looking to Jesus Christ and the Bible. When we repent of our sins, believe in Christ, and turn to God and His ways, living our lives devoted to the Lord, we are promised eternal life with God in heaven. For followers of Christ, we don’t need to wait for heaven to be content. We can learn as Paul did to be content right now – in Christ. I am resolved to learn this.