For the past week or so the Lord has been focusing on one particular theme...Contentment. In 1 Timothy 6 verse 6 Paul writes, "Godliness with contentment IS great gain." How many of us want to have the "great gain" in our lives? [My hand is raised right now. Is yours?] According to John Piper, contentment is simply faith in future grace.
Faith that His promises are for you and He will fulfill every one of them in and through you. His promises are as sure as the sun, rising to bring light to your darkness, and setting to give you rest when all around you life's circumstances are swirling about stealing your peace. Faith that when you are hurt, you know He will comfort. Faith that when you are rejoicing, you know He is rejoicing even more over you. Faith that when you are lost, you know He will shine a light to guide your steps. Faith that when you think you are alone, you know that His presence is ALWAYS with you, for He PROMISES to never leave or forsake you.
That last line is huge for me now. Contentment HAS to be found in Him and in Him alone. You may be with me on this one, but we as humans tend to find contentment in the things or people around us. This isn't entirely wrong, but I have inadvertently put the latter in front of the former. As a result, the Lord [I think] is drawing me away from certain aspects of my life to help me learn this critical lesson.
And yes, it is a learned quality. And yes, it is a quality we have to seek God for. It's not a clear-cut lesson that is easy to learn or we just all of the sudden have. In Philippians 4, Paul says, "I have LEARNED the SECRET of being content in any and every situation." I have emphasized two key words to this passage: 1) As I just mentioned, it HAS to be learned, and 2) It is not an easily attainable or recognizable quality. It is a secret. What helped me understand this was thinking back on your childhood years [or now in some cases] and one of your friends would say, "Hey come over here, I want to tell you a secret." You would excitedly go over to the side with your friend and he/she would whisper a juicy nugget of information into your ear. In the same way, to learn this lesson, you have to go over to the side [alone] with God so He can whisper into your ear the secret [or juicy nugget if you will] of being content in any and every situation.
Paul knew what it meant "to be in need and what it meant to have plenty," but was still content. Why? Because he sought after solitude with God so he could hear the secret of contentment. Paul had to learn how to rest in the Lord's promises; that God alone is sufficient, that every promise of God is for him, and that all things will work out for his good. If Paul had to learn this lesson, then how much more do we need to press into God's heart to learn the secret? Can I get an Amen?
Finding contentment in something or someone else is idolatry. What is the result of our idolatry? Judgement and...H - E - Double Hockey Sticks.
God knows what is BEST for us and contentment believes that it is going to be good, even if it's not what our own human nature would seek out first.
There is a song that is resonating in my spirit lately, Closer by Charlie Hall. It's singing my heart's cry, Come in close, come in close and speak. He is beautiful. The words He speaks are beautiful. The power of His words are FILLED with grace and mercy. I pray that they would fall on my/your deaf ears and melt my/your stony heart!
Grace and peace.