'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
Do you consider yourself to be content? Part of the time? All the time? Never? The very idea of contentment struggles against the worldly principles of competition that drive and thrive on discontentment.
The spirit of competition is a driving force that perpetuates discontentment. Jesus admonished Roman soldiers to be content with their income (Luke 3:140. It is natural to be discontent, so the world says, let us fulfill it. What is wrong with that, it says. Of course, it is being discontent by fulfilling our discontent. It is almost considered immoral to claim to be content, or to believe in it as being possible. Discontentment is ulitlized by society for its own purposes. And it works. It produces.
The world has produced an endless stream of "things". Some are presented as indespensible. Others are presented as very desirable for many different things. Some are presented as even able to "make one wise" (Genesis 3:6). The idea that taking posession of things to fulfill the desires of the flesh and mind will make one content is not new. This was part of Satan's argument from the beginning. He continues to utillize this device on all of humanity (Romans 1:18-21).
At the individual level, discontentment seems to gather and satisfy the desires of the flesh. But in the end, taken to the extreme, it destroys (1 Timothy 6:6). The only cure for a consuming discontentment is thankfulness. But it must be a thankfulness directed outward. If it is turned inward, it becomes pride. This is the thankfulness that thanks self on a selfish level. It is a product of the human spirit. This thankfulness is not toward God. The thankfulness that produces real contentment comes from God, as the result of thankfulness which is directed to God. Then, God gives the gift of contentment from Himself. He Himself will become your living thankfulness and contentment (Hebrew 13:5).
As with all Godly attributes, thankfulness and the resulting contentment are gifts of a gracious God to those whose hearts are set on things above, and not on things on earth (Colossians 3:1-5). This whole senario is tied up on the activities of spiritual growth. Contentment - and thankfulness that impowers it - must be learned. In this learning process, if thankfulness is the cure, then thankfulness to God must be learned first. Sometimes contentment is sought before the thankfulness that produces it. Any such contentment that is thought to have been achienved in this way will not last. Discontentment will come back. More intense than ever.
Your pathway to enduring contentment is to become enduringly thankful. Thankful toward God only. If your feelings of contentment seem to come from some other souce, that person or circumstance is the instrument of God, and not the souirce. Many times God uses people, circumstances, events, etc., to show you through the Holy Spirit why you should be thankful, and therefore content. It has all been orchestrated by God, and He is the cause of it all on your behalf. When God has done this, He will also embue you with proper thanfulness. From that thankfulness, you will learn more and more that blissful state of Godly contentment. God is content. He is not complacent, but He is always content. It will take the mind of Christ in you to comprehand this. But you will grow into thankfulness and resulting contentment more and more, because you have looked only to Him.
To remain on your pathway to be content, you must truly desire to be content. If you attempt to learn contentment by your own strength, you will experience setbacks, and with each one, the discontentment will come back more fierce than before. Satan knows what will provoke the discontentment in you, and he knows it before you do. He will try to smother and choke your thankfulness. Ask Christ to give you a genuine longing for real contentment. He will. And when He does...
You will finally be able to say:
"... I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." - Philippians 4:11-13 (AMP)
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