Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Course to Contentment

I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret [of being content]—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

Our tendency is to look for things that will make us contented — those things that are better or those events that are next, rather than putting forth the effort it takes to learn how to be content. Where we are with what we have.

May I ask you a question? What is the one thing separating you from joy? How do you fill in the blank: “I will be happy when ____________?” When I am healed. When I am promoted. When I am married. When I am rich. How would you finish the statement?

Now, with your answer firmly in mind, answer this. If your ship never comes in, if your dream never comes true, if the situation never changes, could you be happy? If not, then you are living in the claws of discontentment.

Discontentment has the potential to destroy peace, rob us of joy, make us miserable, and tarnish our witness.  We dishonor God if we proclaim a Savior who satisfies and then live in discontentment.
What is the course we must take to real contentment? Let’s look at three of those today.

1.    Give Thanks - "Give thanks in all circumstances" - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks for the material things you have as well as the spiritual blessings you have. Even when you are in need, there are still things that you can be thankful for. Contentment is not the gratification of getting what you want, but the satisfaction in realizing how much you already have."  It is easy to slip into the habit of only asking God for things in prayer and not thanking him. To keep from slipping into this, set a time of thanksgiving.

2.    Avoid complaining - Psalm 77:3 "I complained and my spirit was overwhelmed."(KJV)
That's what complaining does. It takes us down.  When you feel tempted to complain, instead of venting your complaint, replace it with a thanksgiving.  Dr. Dale Robbins said "I used to think that people complained because they had a lot of problems. But I have come to realize that they have problems because they complain." Complaining is the opposite of giving thanks. Complaining spoils contentment.

3.    Avoid coveting - Exodus 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

I recently read the true story about someone who laid a small circle of poison around a hill of stinging ants. Thinking the tiny granules of poison were food, the ants began to pick them up and carry them throughout the colony. They returned later to see how well the poison was working. Hundreds of the stinging ants were carrying the poison down into their hill. 

Someone noticed a hole in the circle of poison. Some of the poison was moving the opposite way--away from the hill. Some smaller, non-stinging ants had found this "food" and were stealing it from their ant neighbors. Thinking they were getting the other ants' treasure, they unwittingly poisoned themselves.

When we see someone with more than we have, we must beware. The hunger to beg, borrow, or steal our way into what is theirs will poison us spiritually. Coveting poison's the path to contentment.

Ask God to lead you to the course of true contentment.  He will open your eyes to what treasures you already have and help you discover that contentment cannot be bought or claimed.  It is a gift we give ourselves really.  It is a decision and a resolution from within. 

Scripture to Claim

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

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