Happy MAY! Wow, that happened fast! Me and my family have some fun things planned for this month so we are excited to get it started.
This week we continue with our third week of a series on contentment! In our first post, we looked at the goodness of God and the important role that plays in our ability to live in contentment. Last week we talked about God’s sovereignty and how that knowledge should change everything for us. This week, we are switching from looking at attributes of God to actions we must learn to practice in order to live a life of contentment.
Contentment: trusting God regardless of our circumstances
This one’s a hard one, I know. I can’t tell you the number of times I have questioned what God is doing based on my earthly circumstances. It is a lot easier to live in contentment when our lives are going well (or just going our way) than when we feel everything we desire is out of reach. Let’s quickly look at what the Bible says about living in contentment regardless of our circumstances.
One of my favorite verses ever speaks about this so well:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:6-12
Wow, that verse is powerful! It is a clear call to live in contentment and not of this world. And I know I used this in our first post of this series, but this verse is too good not to use twice when looking at contentment regardless:
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
I love that it says "I have learned the secret." I feel like this shows us living a life of contentment through Christ instead of through our circumstances is not an easy feat. It's a learned art, something that takes practice and skill. That is encouraging to me because I know it's not just me that struggles with this principal. We are in it together. We aren't going to be perfect at it, but we can learn to practice contentment in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Hold on to what is eternal and keep perspective on what is passing. Let us remember what is a current circumstance, and what is eternal! Grab ahold of internal contentment and let external circumstances come and go.
I do think it's important to take a moment to emphasize that contentment is not equal to complacency. You see, living in contentment in Christ doesn’t mean we put aside all the desires for our life. It doesn’t mean we can’t dream or work towards a new goal. What it does for us is provide us freedom from being controlled by those thoughts and desires. It takes the weight off our shoulders and abilities because our contentment doesn’t rely on external circumstances, it comes from an internal source. We know who holds our lives and we know the final outcome, so our current circumstances are simply that, current circumstances. We get to dream and work towards goals and trust that God will finish a good work that He started in us and use it all to His glory.
I don't know about you, but that brings such a huge sigh of relief for me. God is a solid foundation that we can stand firm on, no matter what the weather is around us. He is unwavering. He is good. He is sovereign. He can be trusted. He holds our future. We can trust Him, regardless of our circumstances.
My prayer for you this week:
Thank you, God, for the person reading this right now. Thank you for their life and for the fact that you have their life in the palm of your hand. I pray that you help us take a step closer to learning to live in contentment this week. Give us opportunities to practice trusting in you, regardless of our circumstances. We believe you are good. We believe you are sovereign. We believe you are trustworthy. AMEN.