Monday, January 05, 2009

Being Content

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13

It is truly difficult to be content. In today's world, we are told we always want more, we want better, we want the American dream of riches and well-being. Once upon the time the American dream was simply to be able to worship God, things have certainly changed.

Contentment is an issue that has been brought straight to the forefront of my mind lately. I've been struggling a bit between the idea that I should be content with where I am and what we have, and the idea that I can ask God for anything and everything. That I can have the dream home and the dream yard and the dream family, all with the dream income to match.

"You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." James 4:2,3

Ah, there it is. Why do I want all those things? What is the real motive? Is it because I am a selfish person and I simply want more? Yeah, probably. And that is where the lesson on contentment collides with my desire, and I wonder when it is it okay to want more? And this tears me up for a few days, and then, just like that, I've settled in and I'm at peace again. Today is a day of peace for me, because I've been talking to God about this. I've let him know how confused and puzzled I am, and how frustrated I am from time to time. And then I apologized for being unpleasant and cranky. Then I found it, I found that contentment again, and I am content with where I am and who I am.

When I think about our home, and where we live, sometimes... sometimes things just drive me batty. Sometimes its neighbors, sometimes it's the yucky dining room floor (carpet in a dining room? Really? Who really thought that was a good idea?), sometimes it's the poor arrangement of heating vents in our bedroom that allows us to put the bed in one and only one spot. You know how those little things go... after a while, you're dwelling on those little things and they begin to fester, they begin to drive you bonkers. I have to think that it's those moments, those moments when the enemy takes a good hard look and decides to take some action. Maybe he'll throw something else in the stew pot to drive me nuts and make it worse, because if I'm being driven nuts about something, then I'm not content, am I?

The truth is, we have a roof over our heads, and walls around us. We have our basic needs met, and really, we need nothing more. That is where today's verse comes into play. It really doesn't matter how much we love or hate our circumstances, where we live, for example. What matters is God. We could look at all these little things, let them drive us nuts, and decide that we need to move on. But where would we go? Sure, things would be different, but there would be a whole set of new nuances to drive us batty and plague us. So instead of listening to that enemy- the one who tells us to not be content- I am making the choice to banish that thought. I am content with where we are, and will remain content until the day that God places something different in our laps. I will not go looking for something different just because I think I want better and different. I'm going to rely on God, and trust in God, to meet our needs and provide for us. I want to live that secret, not just learn it. I want to be content in all things. God is our great provider, and He has provided the home we live in now, and will continue to provide. I trust in that.

"Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:13-14

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