Hello to all who have decided to follow along as I post for 21 days straight as part of our church fast. As you can see, each entry is numbered as a particular day, so if you are reading this and the title above doesn’t say Day 1, then you should stop now and go read from Day 1, or take a peek at Day 2 and pick a topic you are interested in. Thanks for being brave enough to join me.
Day 11 brings us back to the topic of the Christian life and specifically, the idea of contentment.
What does that word mean? It’s not happiness, because it is possible to be happy, but not content. If the thought that whatever is causing your happiness will eventually stop is always in the back of your head, then you do not have contentment, just happiness.
It’s not peace, by the world’s definition. It is possible to be content, but not be at peace, although these two fit together better than contentment and happiness. If we are truly at peace, in a Godly sense, then yes, we can probably consider ourselves content.
Paul talks a lot about contentment. Philippians 4:11 & 12 are common verses cited here for those looking to understand contentment, in the face of any circumstances.
11 – I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 – I 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.
Paul went through a LOT. Shipwrecked, arrested, hungry, rejected, you name it, Paul experienced it, but in it all he was content, regardless of the chaos swirling around him.
In the first epistle to Timothy, we are warned against thinking that godliness is a means to financial gain (6:5). There was much controversy and many false teachers surrounding the believers. The oft misquoted verse of 6:10 follows shortly after this warning, attempting to explain why contentment in financial matters is important, whether wealthy, poor, or even enslaved.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Hebrews says this even more plainly in chapter 13, verse 5 –
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
The bottom line is this – contentment is a choice. We choose to be content, once we learn how to be. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually come immediately as part of the “welcome to salvation” package. It must be learned and it starts with trusting that God’s plans are better than our plans (as mentioned on Day 9 of this series) and that he has us where he wants us, and how he wants us, for a reason.
Do we always see and understand His reasons? No, absolutely not, but as we learn to trust in him, we will eventually (and correctly) conclude that is doesn’t matter if we understand, just that we learn to be content and always be listening for what God wants us to do.
That’s it, short and to the point. Thanks for reading to the end!
Tomorrow’s topic is hurt – specifically why do we have to experience it, if God loves us so much?