Our life in Christ is much the same. I admit that I struggle very often with being content. Okay, let’s be real…the majority of time. I just plum don't feel happy or content. Rather, I feel as though I'm waiting for the good that God is/will work in my life as He promises in Romans 8:28. But then, I struggle with the guilt I have for not being content. I wonder what God expects of me. Is He displeased with me not being content in my circumstances and not being content in Him alone? I want to please God and I want to rectify this issue of discontentment in my circumstances.
I do not know from where these thoughts stem. Let's rewind. The perfectly worded post came to me last night as I laid my exhausted body in bed. I felt the nudging of this post. I pondered on my disobedience to not turn on the light and explicitly wake my tired soul to pen the words on my heart. I conscientiously thought forgive me if I'm disobeying but I must sleep. I repeated the words of this post so I could make myself remember as a trade for my disobedience.
So, as I strain to recapture the words He gave me, I reflect on what is "being content" and how to attain it. Something I must've read in recent days enlightened me to the idea that contentment is not a matter of flipping a switch. Yes, we are to be content in all circumstances. We should be. But is that truly attained that easily or rather is it something we are to learn. I believe it is a matter of learning to be content. The more we determine to see God in all aspects of our lives, large and small, the more we recognize His works. The more we see His Hand the more we can find calmness, peace, and assurance in the midst. I believe it is in the peace and assurance that we find our contentment.
How do we profess to have true contentment when:
Our child has died.
Our body has been stricken with illness.
Our job has been removed.
Our spouse has left.
Our food is at a minimum for survival.
I do not believe we wake up to the diagnosis of cancer and automatically have contentment in the turbulent ride ahead. No, with God's grace and love we learn to be content in all things. The good Lord knows we are human creatures of the flesh. We learn to be content by reading His Word. We learn to be content by experiencing His grace. We learn to be content by continually drinking from His fountain. We learn to be content by focusing on His purposes in the midst of horrific pain.
Contentment is a process of one step at a time learning His ways. To be content is to rest in the assurance that God knows what He is doing. That God will provide regardless of our situation. That God will guide the way in the darkness. That God will supply our needs.
There are so many who are in worse situations than ourselves. There are so many people worse off than myself. I know this. I have a good job. I have wonderful family and friends. I have my health. I have food and a nice roof over my head. I have a vehicle. I have Christ and eternal salvation. So, why in the world do I not feel I have contentment? Yet, someone like Job who was stricken of everything still found himself content. Or Paul who continually had a thorn in his side and was in prison but he was content. However, if we look at his words, they clearly tell us he had learned to be content.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. Philippians 4:11, 12b
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. Hebrews 5:11 This is a little out of context but I feel the author of Hebrews is speaking right to me. Contentment is a hard subject to explain, understand, and live.
If they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. Job 36:11 I honor God’s Word and respect Job penning it. However, for me, it is very hard to comprehend how simply obeying and serving God will bring about contentment. Yes, there is great contentment in those two actions indwelling deep in us. Yet, our flesh and emotions are overwhelmed by our circumstances, our feelings, our hearts.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 Oh how beautiful that is indeed…godliness and contentment…what a great combination.
Let God weigh me in honest scales and He will know that I am blameless—if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled. Job 31:6-7
Yes, Lord, if my steps have turned from your path, lead me back onto your path of righteousness. Lord, if my heart has been led by my eyes, transform my heart and refocus my eyes. Show me your ways. Lead me Lord, step by step into Your path for my life and into Your path of learning true contentment.
Trying to Learn Contentment...step by step,