Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16, 2011 … Contentment: How To Enjoy It

Passage of the Day: Hebrews 13: 5. 6 – 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." [from Deut. 31: 6] 6So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" [restatement of Ps. 118: 6,7]

My Journal for Today: Contentment! We began to look at this illusive quality of life yesterday, indicating that true contentment is a measure of the maturity of one’s faith in God’s providence. With all that life presents, especially in times of trials/tribulations, it’s so easy to wonder if real contentment is possible.

But as we read yesterday in Phil. 4: 11 – 12, the Apostle, Paul, had found real contentment, even though he was writing from prison. In fact, the entire book of Philippians is a journal of true Christian contentment and joy. Read Phil. 3: 7 - 9; and see further just how deeply felt was Paul’s sense of faith in Christ …

>>> SCRIPTURE: Phil. 3: 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Now that’s faith!

I have a standard response that I learned to the generic, “How are you?” greeting, which people throw out so flippantly in public. I learned my response from my former mentor, who used to reply to this question with, “Always better than I deserve?” Most people expect the generic reply, “Fine!” to that greeting; but often when I reply as indicated above, people actually have to think what I mean by that reply. Many times it offers a good opportunity to witness for my faith and to the biblical truths that we are now discussing about contentment.

Think about it. How much better off am I than what I deserve as a sinner? Infinitely so much so! Therefore, anytime someone says flippantly, “How are you?” I can respond affirmatively and accurately, “Always better than I deserve.” Try it sometime. You’ll find that it catches people short; and they may ask why you say that; or they may say, “Oh, surely not;” and when they do, the door is open to explain why you feel blessed by and content in your relationship with Christ.

I also contend that most Christians really don’t understand or truly believe the implications of a verse that many of them may even have memorized. The passage is another Pauline jewel … Romans 8: 28

>>> SCRIPTURE: Rom. 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

You see, if we, as Christians, really believed this truth, then we would KNOW that God’s heart for our good was ALWAYS there in the midst of any or all trials/tribulations as well as what we generally call “blessings;” and we’d KNOW that God is working in those trials, ALL of them, for our well being and His design. But the truth is that most of us find it difficult to find joy and contentment, like Paul did, in the midst of our trials.

You know, … often I feel like Jacob when he prayed to God (Gen. 32: 9 – 10 – see especially the underlined portion below) …

>>> SCRIPTURE: Gen. 32: 9 Then Jacob prayed, "O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, 'Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,' 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant.

It’s like my greeting reply (above) … there’s so little, if anything, where I can really be seen as deserving of God’s providence … and believing Rom. 8: 28, even the tough stuff in my life is for my good and under God’s control. So, today I will CHOOSE to seek to be joyful and content in whatever comes my way.

Will you join me?

My Prayer Today: You are all I need, Lord! Amen

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