Archive for July, 2019

Are You Content?

I have found contentment to be illusive. “The glass seems to always be half-empty” for me. I never thought of myself as a perfectionist, but I always seem to want better or more.

When I was getting promoted quickly in the Air Force, I noticed my fantasies for the future kept becoming more grandiose. I am embarrassed to say that they eventually reached imagining being President of the United States.

As I view my life from a more mature perspective, I am finding greater chunks of my life where I do feel satisfied. My wife, family, income and home are where I feel most pleased. Other areas are a work in progress.

So, what does it look like to be content?

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The dictionary says it is being satisfied, pleased, happy, and fulfilled.

So, what keeps us from being satisfied?

The Bible says none of us will be content in the long-run. “Human desire is never satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20 (NLT).

That sounds pretty grim.

“Won’t I be satisfied by the next promotion, car, or success of my kid?” we ask ourselves. Well, no.

John D. Rockefeller started Standard Oil.  He was at one point the world’s richest man and first ever American billionaire.  Considering he was a billionaire in the early 1900’s he is still considered the richest person in modern history.  When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.”

Saint Augustine prayed “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

But we don’t rest in God. We depend on ourselves and pursue riches at the expense of higher priorities, like our relationship with God and our families.These riches include power, reputation, and pleasure.

But God says, “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these; Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:6-8, NLT).

So, how do we become content?

The Bible says we can’t in a deep way. Only temporarily.

Paul shared the secret of being satisfied when he said:

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13, NLT).

So, contentment is supernatural. It’s not a human achievement. It requires God’s help.

If you are content with your standard of living, are you satisfied with your importance? How about feeling loved? Do you regard yourself as an acceptable person and are gentle with your weaknesses?

Learning to rely and experience how God thinks and feels about us gives us the experience of being important, loved and acceptable. “You are precious, you are honored, and I love you” he says to us in Isaiah 43:4. Trusting in his view of us keeps us from searching for significance in riches, power, and influence – which will never satisfy.

May we turn to God to be fulfilled. Only he can give us the wisdom and power to learn to rest in our identity in Christ – and find the contentment that eludes us.

 

 

 

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