Monday, April 29, 2019

A Relentless Pursuit

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  1 Timothy 6:6-8
A Relentless Pursuit
The dictionary defines contentment as being “easy of mind, to be free from worry, from guilt, to be satisfied.” It is a beautiful place to be, but it seems so hard to find.  How content are you? Do we really understand true contentment?  It seems like we are constantly in pursuit of the “next thing”, or the “one more thing I need and that’s it.”  Lots of people seem to have all the pieces of contentment — career, health, family, wealth — but are still profoundly discontent.  For it to be something we think we understand, and have, we spend a lot of time and make a lot of bad choices looking for it. 
Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., observes that our society is marked by “inextinguishable discontent.” Our quest is “what is better and what is next.” We want a better job with better pay and a better boss.  We want better relationships, a better car and a better backhand in tennis or a longer drive in golf. We have a propensity to live endlessly for the next thing — the next weekend, the next vacation, the next purchase, and the next experience. We are never satisfied, never content, and envious of those who have what we have not attained or accumulated.  
What does true contentment look like for the Christian? Here is an amazing truth. The Bible is saying that whether you have enough money or not, whether you have abundance or are in very strained circumstances, you can still have contentment because the secret of contentment is not in what you have or don't have. But we don’t often feel this way.  What are we looking for truly?  What are we seeking or trying to do when we skip from one thing to the next? 
The Heart of the Matter  
• Contentment isn’t denying our feelings about wanting and desiring what we can’t have, but instead it is freedom from being controlled by those feelings.  It is not just self-denial.  
• Contentment isn’t pretending things are right when they are not, but instead it displays the peace that comes from knowing that God is bigger than any problems and that he works them all out for our good. 
• Contentment isn’t a feeling of well-being contingent on keeping circumstances under control, but instead it promotes a joy in spite of circumstances, looking to God who never varies. 
• Contentment is not based on external circumstances, but rather on an internal source. Contentment is of the heart.
Contentment is a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is a good God and wants to give good gifts to his children.  We WILLINGLY accept from God’s hand that which he gives.  All that is needful He will supply.  In other words, contentment and joy must be sought within us.  No amount of money or possessions will bring us the state of joy and peace that is contentment.  No, true contentment comes from within. As a matter of fact, too much of anything brings stress in our life.  I think most of us believe that.   
What about your spirit and the spirits of those around you?  Do you know people who are really content or are they still searching for that something they think will bring them the peace of contentment? We can spend our whole lives chasing contentment and if we never look to Jesus, we won’t ever find it.  We will only find temporary contentment that disappoints and leaves us emptier than ever.  Look to Jesus only.  Look to Him today and find true and lasting contentment. 
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

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