Contentment in Christ

Good morning, y’all! I hope everyone had a wonderful, refreshing weekend and that you’re all ready to get back in the swing of things today. We had a nice weekend with beautiful weather here in southeast Texas, and we enjoyed a combined birthday celebration for Will and my stepdad, so that was fun.

I talked with a friend and sister in Christ yesterday, and she told me she had a topic for me to write about…contentment. So that is what this post is going to cover, as I am sure this is something that hits home for all of us (in the west, for sure). We talked about this some on our podcast, “Living Godly in an Ungodly World,” if you want to go back and listen to it. Will gave some really good counsel and testimony over being content in the world we live in today. It can really be tough when we’re trying to live the “American Dream,” or “keep up with the Joneses.” As followers of Christ though, we know we are called to live differently than the world, in terms of what the desires of our hearts are. Contentment is not found in the accumulation of wealth, possessions, other people/relationships, or any kind of status. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about being content. There are a lot of Scriptures on this subject matter, so I’m just going to give some that speak most to me and then expound on them a bit.

6Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 11But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. 13And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, 14that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 15For, at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 16He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen. 17Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. 1 Timothy 6:6-19

11Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13For I can do everything through Christ,d who gives me strength. 14Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. 15As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness. 18At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. 19And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:11-19

5Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”b Hebrews 13:5

Did you catch the common theme in all of these verses? The love of money leads to death and destruction, both physically and spiritually. It doesn’t say that having money is necessarily bad, but it does say that LOVING IT is bad. Depending on anything more than we depend on God is idolatry. If we are trusting in ourselves, our jobs, relationships, or anything else for our security and stability, this is not going to bring contentment. Rather, it’s going to bring stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and pride in our self-sufficiency and perceived “achievements.” And this can affect not only us but our entire family, as these things have a ripple effect. Our spouse, children, grandchildren, and others around us will suffer from our drive for more. When we get ourselves into more debt, it requires working more hours so we are away from our families more often and things just snowball into a vicious cycle that leads to breakdown. This also happens when we look to people in our lives to fill a void or meet a need in us that only God is able to fulfill and sustain.

God wants His children to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and Matthew 6: 24-34 tells us: 24“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. 25“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?26Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?27Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,29yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.30And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33Seek the Kingdom of Gode above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

He is an awesome, loving Father Who wants us to find all our satisfaction, fulfillment, sustenance, and purpose in Him, trusting Him fully to take care of our every need. He doesn’t want us to be worried, fearful, anxious, or self-reliant. These Scriptures remind us that HE is our Portion and our Supply and that we have all that we need IN CHRIST. They also remind us to keep our eyes on the eternal reward that awaits the Bride of Christ, not fixing our eyes on the things of this earth that are temporal and have no lasting significance. It is only by keeping this heavenly hope and everlasting focus that we can attain true contentment in this world that is not our home. We are only passing through, pilgrims on a journey…walking the narrow path that leads to Life and bringing as many others along that will come and join us.

You may think this sounds cliche, but in all things we have to go back to God’s Word. After all, it is our foundation and our guiding light. From it, real knowledge is found and wisdom attained when we apply these timeless truths to our lives. Much of the Word that I’ve shared here today speaks of living righteously and having godliness. The way that we do that is to grow in our relationship with the Living God who paid our ransom and set us free through Christ’s finished work on the cross. We do this by first coming to Him in repentance and faith, being born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit and keeping in step with Him as He makes us new by transforming us into a new creation, spending time with the Father in prayer and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us the Word of God and how to apply it to our lives. It is an ongoing process of growing in this righteousness/godliness (sanctification) as we become more like our Savior, and we will be living this out until we meet Jesus face to face. We can only become more like Him by spending time in His presence. As we dig into His Word, we will see things more clearly and understand how God expects His children to live in the world but be set apart in our lifestyle and convictions. This has been a really good introduction to it, so if you are not yet a follower of Christ, I pray that you will begin to seek Him through His Word and allow its truths to penetrate your heart and soul and accomplish its beautiful, eternal work in your life. Please reach out to me if you would like to discuss this further, as I am here to be salt and light and pave the way for the King.

If you are my brother and sister already, I pray that you will find encouragement and hope in today’s message, and we can all stand to evaluate ourselves, our motives, and where our treasures are from time to time. I’ve heard a quote that says something along the lines of, “if you want to know where your heart is, check your pocketbook/bank statement.” So that’s a pretty good test of where our focus is–where our finances are going. Do you have a lot of purchases that are unnecessary or frivolous (self-centered items), or are there more things that you do to support and grow the Kingdom of God listed there? And I don’t just mean “tithing” to a church building. We are called to be generous, cheerful givers and to help others in need.

This is another thing that’s contrary to the world’s value system and sets us apart as Christ-followers. I think we can all be ever-growing in this area as we walk with the Lord and allow Him to develop more of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. I, for one, welcome this and am always excited about how I see God changing me and how it affects everyone around me. Back to what I was saying in the beginning of this post, who we are and how we live has a ripple effect on everyone around us. Be the change you want to see in the world. That’s not a Biblical statement, but it leads me to this last word I’ll leave you with today: Be the salt and light YOU are called to be. Be about the Father’s business…and find contentment in your position in Him and His promises to you as His child. Amen!

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