Thursday, April 21, 2016

Content..to be or not to be?

Content. adjective. Pleased and satisfied: not needing more (per Webster). Synonyms: contented, fulfilled, happy, cheerful, glad, peaceful... I think you get the idea. Therefore, contentment would mean the state of being pleased and satisfied. If you are full of contentment then you are full of satisfaction. 

So, are you content? Big question - and very subjective, I know. Contentment is a learned trait. We are not naturally content, are we? No... but we do have natural traits. We have worries, doubts, fears, complaints. Many of us tend to be competitive by nature, always trying to prove an act or a point. Some of us always have our eyes pointed at a person or a prize that we are trying to conquer.

In Philippians 4:12 we learn that Paul actually learned how to be content. He says, "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." (NIV)

In order to be content, we must find a new attitude and a new outlook on life. Both can be found with a stronger faith... a deeper connection to God. Paul tells us - "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace.." Philippians 4:6-7 And, after all, being at peace is a sign of being content.

In theory, this sounds easy. But contentment can be hard to find no matter what your current mood.

For instance, when we are happy and feeling good, its easy to feel content. Though, are we really content in the biblical sense? Are we content because we are God is filling our heart and know that we are thankful for all that he has given us and are eyes are focused on Him alone? Are we doing all that we do because of HIS plan? Or, are we content because we have that steak and lobster and the latest HBO series to watch on our comfy couch tonight with our bestie? See the difference? Having nothing and being content simply because we have a strong relationship with God is quite a bit different than lobster with your BFF.  

But what happens on a bad day? What happens after an argument with a loved one, or when you are fired from your job? What happens on those days when you cry out in desperation because nothing seems to be going your way? How can we be content then? Sometimes, oddly, we find more contentment when this happens. Its times like these that lead us to God out of despair. We don't know what earthly thing or person can make things better ..."It will take a miracle, I better pray!" How many times have we said that??? We turn to our last hope... we turn to God... and that is why we tend to find a bit more peace in rough times. 

And, then, of course, you know how it goes... the rough times dissipate and we begin to see the light. Once we are happy again, a good percentage of the time, our eyes go back on our earthly idols and we forget who got us through that dark moment. And we say adios to contentment!

See, being content isn't just a feeling. Its the result of a relationship. And not just any relationship, but a relationship with God. In good times and in bad times, we need to remember Him. We need to practice putting our faith in Him. Praise Him. Thank Him. For Paul said, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13. There isn't anything anywhere that could help us maneuver our way through life except God. His peace "... will guard your hearts and your minds..."4:7 And only then will you finally be able to live out the true definition of the word - Content.

If you haven't read Philippians chapter 4 in a while, why don't you read it today? 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog, Shell. I thought I'd return the favor. Glad I did—you have a very warm writing style that draws people in. This probably reflects who you are as a person, as well. That combination is hard to beat. Best wishes for a wide readership. (clergyunited.blogspot.com)

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