The flip of a coin or the luck of a draw doesn’t achieve contentment. As strange as it seems being content requires discipline, prayer and often a climb back to the altar of self-sacrifice.
John 14:8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Philips’ declaration reminds me of the statements my children made around Christmas time. “If you get me a dirt bike, I won’t ask for anything else!” ‘Enough’? I often wonder if there really is such a thing. It seems as human beings we are always striving for more or different. What we have is never exactly it.
If we don’t have children, we want them. When our children are young, we look forward to a time when they are older and we can have more independence. When they are older, we wish we could spend more time with them. We want the promotion. We get the promotion and we wish we had a job with less stress. Being content is often the apple on the branch just beyond our reach. At the very least it is hard work!
Jesus’ answer to Phillip in John 14:9 gives us real insight into the human predicament. Jesus answered; “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father? How can you say show us the Father?” What if we are in the perfect place to have what we need but we miss it by reaching for something else? I have mentally kicked myself many times for not joining the High School Drama Club. Our family moved a lot growing up. I usually didn’t participate in school activities because I would have to be “the new kid on the block” every time. My friends were the kids who weren’t really interested in anything or like me were afraid they wouldn’t be accepted. So instead, I would go to High School plays and wish I were on stage. I reached for instant acceptance what I missed I will never know for sure. I now love acting and directing for my church. My guess is that I robbed myself of many beautiful memories.
Paul said in Philippians 4:11b “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Contentment and whining can never dwell in the same space. They are two sides of one coin. On one side scripture teaches in Proverbs 15:15b The cheerful heart has a continual feast. While on the other side God takes complaining very seriously. As He so vividly illustrated when the Israelites grumbled against Him in the desert. Numbers 21:6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.
Which one should we opt for the freedom and hard work of learning to be content, supplied bountifully with food dropped from heaven or Egypt with the fabulous delicacies enjoyed in our slaves quarters and eaten while in chains? Which will it be heads or tails?
II Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
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Wise words, to be digested by this reader, daily.
I have found, that to be content with life is to be content in Jesus. The closer my relationship with Him and His amazing love is, that is when He outshines every selfish desire of my ever-irratic heart. I truly admire the gift God has entrusted you with. - Nancy