Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What does it mean to be content?

Another homework assignment from Pastor Chris.  We've had a month to ponder this question but I had no idea how to answer the above question so I kept praying for insight.  Only a week to go and I still couldn't fully answer this question.  Then last Sunday I woke up and as I lay in bed, the following words came into my heart....maybe not a complete answer but it begins to capture what I hear God saying to me....

Philippians 4:11 - "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."

My feelings betray me when they don't line up with Truth. And when I dwell on those feelings, they can become strongholds in my mind and the journey to contentment is elusive.

My feelings may say, "I need a new car" or "I need new shoes" or "I need new clothes" but if that is not in line with Truth, then contentment eludes me. Yahweh-Yireh - "my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 4:19.

My feelings may say, "I need a new job" or "I need to move from this place" but when my mind fixates on these desires, I lose sight of Yahweh-Shalom, God is peace - Numbers 6:22-27; Isaiah 9:6

My feelings may tell me "I am alone and need a husband" or "I messed up too big and there's no hope for my future" and if I dwell on these feelings, then I forget Yahweh-Shammah, the Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35; Matthew 28:20) and I overlook Yahweh-Rapha, the Lord who heals (I Peter 2:24).

I wonder if the journey to contentment is won or lost on the battlefield of the mind. "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). When my feelings threaten to betray me, I must cling to Truth. I must rest in the assurance of God's Word.

As I read back over these words, hopelessness could creep in. I can't take captive my thoughts, I am weak. I can't see Yahweh when negativity overwhelms me. But then I force myself to read further in Philippians 4 to verse 13, "I can do everything through [Christ] who gives me strength." I can learn contentment because of Christ's strength at work in me.

Contentment is not about what I own or what I am lacking.
Contentment does not depend on my circumstances.
It's not about having a man in my life.
Contentment is not about the job I have or where I live.
Contentment is about the state of my heart.
It is learned as I recognize that Christ is my all.
He is sufficient for me.

Contentment is a journey, a learning process. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I can learn contentment. And when I fail on the journey to contentment, I will look to Yahweh-Mekaddishkem, the Lord who sanctifies (Exodus 31:12-13; Hebrews 13:12)

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