As I prayed for God to tell me what to write for you, a devotion from James MacDonald came through in my email. I thought, “This is perfect!” This week will be on being content. This morning as we ponder what that means, I’d like to share with you the devotion I received this morning with you.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content (Philippians 4:11, ESV).
“Do you want contentment but find it elusive? Be encouraged. Even the apostle Paul, an exemplary Christ follower, realized being content was something he had to learn. If Paul had to pursue contentment, let’s acknowledge our need to work on it, too.
In our covetous culture, genuine contentment is rare. But while you may not have everything you want, nothing can garrison your heart and guard your joy like knowing you have everything you need. To learn lasting, biblical contentment that applies “in whatever situation,” make note of these three choices.
No matter the problem… God is bigger!
1. Seek it. Seek contentment as a lifestyle. Choose it. Acknowledge that you would not be happier if you had more—in truth, you’d likely be more miserable. God’s Word contains clear warnings for us: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). Do you believe this yet? More does not equal happier!
2. Say it. Cultivate the capacity to say, “I have enough.” Let those words ring through your home. Push yourself back from the table early and say, “I’ve had enough.” When you handle money—a surprise bonus from work, an inheritance from your great-aunt, even just an extra bill in your pocket—resist the cravings for more. Follow the words “I have enough” with the prayer: “Lord, how can I use this for You?”
“I have enough” runs counter to our culture, but there is victory in this idea. So even if you don’t fully believe it yet, decide to trust God’s provision and say, “I have enough.” The trust of contentment is like the trust we exercise at conversion: I don’t know if this will change my life, but my own thing is not working. Lord, if You’re real, come into my life and forgive my sins. That’s a salvation breakthrough. Have a sanctification breakthrough, and say by faith, “God, I have enough.” Let those words ring from our churches and our homes and our cars and our trips to the mall.
3. Settle it. Psalm 62:10 advises us, “If riches increase, set not your heart on them.” Here’s the challenge: choose a lifestyle; don’t let your income dictate your lifestyle. Identify a comfortable level of living that meets your needs, and do not compromise that with increased spending when more income arrives. If you don’t choose a lifestyle, this culture will choose one for you—and by default, it will be the lifestyle of living beyond your means. Be counter-cultural! Be radical! Choose a lifestyle that’s biblically based; eternally focused; others-oriented.
Let enough be enough. Learn from the examples of those around you (both the contented and the covetous). You will save yourself a world of hurt and know the joy of a truly contented attitude.”
I browse through my schedule, not content with some dates left blank. I need to be busy more.
I sit quietly on our beautiful patio my husband built with his own bare hands, desiring more landscape. More patio. I need more space.
I shift though my closet lined with clothes, looking for something to wear. I need a new outfit to choose from.
My husband and I return from an incredibly blessed weekend getaway, I need to plan our next one.
The list of “never enoughs” and “more of this” is a never-ending soul struggle. If we aren’t careful, the essence of gratitude can slip behind the scenes casted by shadows of our own human desires.
We need to stop. We need to pause for God. We need to not need anything more, but to seek contentment from God’s overflow of blessings onto us.
Seek contentment from the depth of your prayers and let God soak through you. Let it settle. Pause and seek.
Stop seeking contentment in the world. You’ll never find it. You’re looking for an eternal gift that can only come from God.
The sound of the garage door opening in the evening tells me my husband is home from work. Immediately I feel at peace. I never realized that a sound like the opening of a garage door could make such a beautiful noise. He is home. He is safe. I am content.
Say it. Say it the next time your kids rush into your arms. Say it the next time you walk through the door to smell dinner simmering. Say it the next time you climb into bed to hold your spouse. You are content. You have enough.
Nothing in this world can ever satisfy your soul hunger like God can. He feeds you with more than enough of His goodness and Love. If you feel starved, it’s not for more of anything other than God.
We can fill our closets with more clothes, go on more vacations, have more landscaping, but like the dust that it is, it will scatter with the passing season.
But, God….more of God…more of Him…more of embracing His enough for us and we are full. Full of Joy. Full of peace. Full of gratitude.
Full of Love. That’s real contentment.
So say it. Say you are content. You have ENOUGH.
Just like settling in a new home or on our vacations, we begin to adjust to our new surroundings. We ease into comfort as we begin to conform to them.
The same is true when we settle into our contentment. Our minds ease, hearts soften and spirits awaken. It is a lifestyle we get to choose. We get to choose what is enough.
Pastor James MacDonald said if we don’t choose our lifestyle, our culture will choose one for us. If we resist God; if we deny the very goodness of His heart; our lifestyles will be settled by the world. A very cracked and broken world. We never find true contentment in that.
Our fleshly desires leads us to always want more, but it never seems to satisfy. Our souls will always be left unsettled. Only God can fill our souls with all the things we spend our lifetimes chasing. Peace, comfort, Love….contentment. These are soul-infused emotions and can only come from God.
We get to choose. Do we choose God, the only one who can bring us true contentment? Or do we choose the world, a society so gripped by deceit, that it will always leave us starved for more?
Our choices will determine our chase. Are we chasing God for more of Him or the world for more of them?
Very powerful lesson on contentment found in Philippians 4:10-13.
Paul had been falsely accused and thrown in prison. He wrote several letters to churches asking for prayer, but he never spoke of his fears or financial needs. No doubt Paul was in a difficult situation, where most of us would most likely flip our lids. But, Paul fully depended and trusted God to supply all his needs, even in his toughest trials. He learned to be content in his situation, no matter what that situation looked like.
We can learn a lot from this lesson can’t we? How often do we live beyond our means or mutter the words, ” I need!”. And these are just in every day situations for the most part. If we adopt that worldly attitude in our every day circumstances, what will our attitudes be like in some of our toughest ones?
Contentment is HUGE guys. It needs to be a fully adopted part of our beings. The bible doesn’t tell us fables. These are real situations with real people that God is using to shape and teach us. He is showing us what real contentment looks like. He knows it leads to our awareness of where our real needs come from in ALL situations. And if we choose to follow the world’s way, unlike Paul we will find ourselves in a constant state of restlessness and unease because we look for settlement in things and people, where only God can settle the matters of the soul. Real contentment can only come from Him.
We come into this world bare needing only our basic needs; needing Love and nurturing.
Have you ever heard someone taking their final breaths asking for their cars, houses and things? No. You hear them ask for the people they Love to be around them.
Everything we do in between our birth and death will be the backbone of who we are and what we believe. We learn quickly that the world is a demanding place. If you’re not careful, it will demand your peace, your identity, your… livelihood, until your veins are richly flowing with it.
We allow ourselves to be discontent because we have this fleshly need to meet the demands of our culture. Everyone is wearing this so I need to wear it. People admire the rich and famous, so I must reach for wealth and fame to be admired. The list goes on and on. Can’t we see yet that it’s never ending? I don’t need to mention God’s name for us to realize this to be truth.
We conform to what the world wants. To what the world accepts. But, there are reasons why this is the way it is. God’s name NEEDS to be mentioned because He is the way. He is the real gain. Real wealth. Real contentment.
Our problem is if we flock to the world’s demands, we notice the world demands NO God. That doesn’t make it NOT the truth. All that makes it as an unpopular view…and no one wants to be the unpopular kid in class right? The world will do ANYTHING to keep you away from real gain.
We struggle with thinking heavenward. We focus on our brief stay here on earth. So, we continue to chase “things”. And when we gain those “things” like a drug, we get high and then come down. Soon we are in the chase again. That’s not real gain. You’ve gained nothing. All that defines is what you value as a person. They are things you desire that you think will settle the internal struggle with who you are.
If we don’t let God define us, then the world will. In the end, that perishes. It will mean nothing. God is trying to tell us how we can gain true contentment. Real gain. We simply just aren’t listening.
We are leaving this world the same way we came into it. What does your in between look like? Are you content?
As we unwind this week on contentment, I pray you all reflect on it. Let what you have be enough. Let today be enough. Let how Jesus died be enough. Let why He died be enough. Let His resurrection be enough.
Nothing in this world can ever satisfy our deep hunger for “enough” like God can. It’s His mighty Love alone that can fill us and settle us with a soul-enriched peace. A purification that is enough.
He is enough. …