Did you read my previous entry about contentment? If not, scroll down and read it first.
Nobody said it. I could see how someone might. Great marriage. Decent health. Four relatively happy and healthy children. Nice home. Employed. “You should be content!” Indeed–I should be content. Yet–like you–I am often discontent. I’m getting it–learning to be content–but I wouldn’t say I’ve appropriated the secret.
Many of you understand what I mean by “the secret.” It’s the wording of the Apostle Paul who wrote,
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be 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” (Philippians 4:11-13).
Paul’s life wasn’t exactly the “piece of cake” mine might appear to be. The Apostle’s sufferings make my issues minor inconveniences. He went “through the wringer” for the glory of God. But he was content. Why? One word. Christ. The same is true for the writer of the book of Hebrews. Consider his words here:
“Make sure thatyour character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME” (Heb. 13:5,6).
This morning in Sunday School I taught Romans 8:28-39. That “wringer” I mentioned above for Paul is hinted at in this passage. Think of what this Apostle experienced:
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” (8:35)?
Sort of makes your life seem a bit easier at the moment, eh?!
Did you notice the common theme among the three passages? Christ! Jesus is the key to contentment. Paul found contentment in the love and strength of Christ. The author of Hebrews expressed contentment with whatever possessions he had because he “possessed” the Lord. These realities can be experienced by us today. We all can have contentment. It is available in a relationship with Christ, not simply a limited knowledge of Christ.
Allow me to close with these words from Thomas Watson:
“Spiritual things satisfy. The more of heaven that is in us, the less earth will content. When a person has once tasted the love of God, his thirst is much quenched toward earthly things. The joys of God’s Spirit are heart-filling and heart-cheering joys. He who has these has heaven begun in him (Romans 14:17), and shall we not be content to be in heaven? Oh, get a sublime heart! “Seek the things that are above” (Colossians 3:1). Fly aloft in your affections; thirst after the graces and comforts of the Spirit. The eagle that flies above in the air does not fear the stinging of the serpent. The serpent creeps on his belly and stings only those creatures that go upon the earth. Discontent is a serpent that stings only an earthly heart. A heavenly soul that, with the eagle, flies aloft finds abundantly enough in God to give contentment, and is not stung with the cares and disquiets of the world” (The Art of Divine Contentment, Soli Deo Gloria, 2001, p.118).