Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)
The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
After a huge meal and cleaning a massive mess, the girls gathered around the table to go through all the Black Friday sales soon to begin. Clothing, electronics, accessories, and the like as stores offering amazing deals to lure in the holiday shoppers. As I surveyed the offerings, I wasn’t as entertained as in the past. Nothing really called my name or motivated me to plan an attack. The next thing I knew I was yawning incessantly so I moved to the bedroom and took a nap. As is the custom in our house, that the moment mom closes her eyes something becomes urgent my youngest wanted to spend the afternoon with a friend and it couldn’t wait thirty minutes or so for mom and dad to wake up. With that, her dad ended his nap and got up to watch football. With that the dog became overwrought with the knock on the door or the arrival of said friend to pick up the alarm clock. Getting up, I wandered to the couch and curled up with another soft blanket for the rest of the day. My other daughter came looking for me with my phone as everyone was gearing up for our shopping trip the next day. I took the phone, snuggling with the puppy under the warm fuzzy throw without any interest at the moment. As I lay on the couch with football in the background surrounded by many of my loved ones, I realized I was content. In that moment, in that place, I was absolutely content. It is an amazing feeling. I give full credit to the Lord. It has been a long and difficult process but it is quietly and carefully unfolding in my life.
What does the word contentment mean? Contentment is to be satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else. Thankfulness breeds contentment in our life as we become aware of what we really have. I know that over the last year, I have felt compelled to clean out and minimize. As I have done so, I have sold the unwanted and outgrown items in our home producing income just from the surplus laying around our home. My drive for success has changed course as well. No longer am I interested in “taking over the world” whatever my world looks like but rather living in the moment, discovering its potential, fulfilling God’s Plan and Purpose found in those moments. The contents of our heart has the ability to produce contentment in our life. Capital One credit card asks “what’s in your wallet” as the merchants try to take it. But the Lord asks today as everyone gears up for present buying and gift giving to stop and ask yourself, “Am I content?”
I Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. Contentment without God is impossible. Faith in the Lord is the substance by which the heart is satisfied. God is the God of satisfaction. (Psalm 104:27-28) Jesus is the One who made it possible for us to be fully satisfied again, because only He can satisfy our heart. (John 10:10) The enemy longs to steal from, kill and destroy God’s People. You can read in the news on any given day celebrities and famous people who the world thinks have it all, who end their lives because they are not satisfied and have no hope. Looking at your bank account today, one may think no worries here that will never happen to me. Do not be fooled. Many times, we try to fill our life with the good things that are not being produced by disobedience and ignorance. These costly counterfeits and savvy substitutions will never give us what we are after. We must learn to toil for our heart and not out mouth. (Ecclesiastes 6:7) I love that reminder. When we learn to connect to the Source of Life and remain connected, we are satisfied with what we have, who we are, and where we are in life. (Hosea 13:6) When we become dissatisfied and discontent, it is a sign that there is a disconnection between us and the Giver of Life.
Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)
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.
I have lived a wide spectrum in life. I know what it is like to live in a single wide trailer in a mobile home park and I have also experienced a very nice middle class home in a brand new neighborhood. I know what it is like to have electricity, running water and a full pantry but as a child I can remember spending a cold night in that same trailer with no heat, power or water as it had been shut off and we had nothing to eat. I have learned the secret of contentment not in the hands of my labor but in the Presence of God who promises never to leave me or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5) The Lord has been with me every step of the way preparing peace for me to rest in and contentment for me to find so that when I was ready to own it, it would give me the joy and peace I had been searching for all along. It is when we hunger and thirst for more than those things we are after that we discover true strength. When I am weak is when I am made strong and the Lord can fill all those voids in my heart. Content as a noun means something that is contained. It is the power to contain to capacity. I am a vessel. Freedom allows me to carry what I choose. The treasure of my heart defines who I am. (Matthew 6:21) If I can learn to fill it up with Jesus, I will live in contentment forever.
James 1:4-5 (NIV)
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God. (Matthew 5:9) Contentment will always require perseverance because it is contrary to our human nature. Society is driven by supply and demand as a means to produce and maintain a flow of currency. The media convinces us that we “need” our “wants”. This confusion leaves people floundering to keep up. Steals peace. Robs joy. It deceives people into believing that God doesn’t love them or care based on what others have or can do. The false prophets stand up on Sunday preaching give so you will get and people buy into the lie that if you don’t give God your money you will live in lack. No friends, it is your heart that the Lord is after not your wallet. He wants your Love not commission for blessing your life. If you lack wisdom today, ask the Lord. This includes if you are deficient in contentment or cannot find satisfaction for He gives us both in mass quantities if we provide the vessel – He fills our life with good things. But do not think that it comes in the form that the world labels success, it is produced by His Spirit and called love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) These are the things that produce real contentment and true satisfaction in life.
Romans 8:6 (NIV)
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
I do not believe that God gave our son cancer. I do not believe that He would ever allow a child to suffer as such. I know that He promises that all things work together for our good and this is not excluded. In the journey to healing, the Lord broke my heart several times. The first with his diagnosis, but the rest of the time it was with the subtle realization of who I had become even though I thought I was following Christ. Constantly seeking His Presence, in continuous conversations with the Lord, leaning and totally trusting His Word as a means for survival allows our heart to be exposed especially when it is broken. I did not like what I found in the dark and hidden recesses. There was a gray line that somehow I stepped over. Cancer did not change me, but the Love and Power of God did.
Our mind is governed by our flesh. A radical takeover must be accomplished to surrender our heart and mind to the Holy Spirit if we desire to find true contentment. The Spirit promises to produce in us life and peace. It is different than what the world has to offer. It is not a monetary or position change in the world as much as a thriving, repositioning of our mind that agrees with our heart and soul that God is more than enough for us. Jesus left us peace to take hold of and live in every day. It is compromised by fear of lack and failure. These do not exist in the Presence of God for His Children but become the attack of the enemy to take our inheritance and rob our hearts of satisfaction. I have Jesus. I have all that I need to prosper in life. I am more than a conqueror. I must stay fixed by faith and have confidence in hope that never leads to disappointment. I must be convinced that nothing can or will ever separate me from God’s Love. I must make up my mind. When I do, the Peace of God will crush every plot and reveal every scheme of the enemy to keep my heart in bondage, soul chained up and mind in captivity. (Romans 16:20) If you have Jesus Christ living in your heart today, like me, you have EVERYTHING you need to be content and fully satisfied. There is nothing a store can offer you that can change your mind or upset your heart because you have it all. This is true contentment and I just learning what it is. I have tried to make it, find it and buy it in the past only to realize today – He lives inside of me.
Colossians 3:15 (NIV)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.