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         The Secrets of Contentment

This morning while Audrey and I were finishing our coffee, I made this statement, “A few years ago, people were running to keep up with the neighbors and now they are running to keep up with the bill collector.”  I believe that one of our greatest challenges as believers is contentment.  Now that I have your attention, let me clarify what I mean.   John tells us that there are three things that are in the world.  Look at what he said, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:15-16 NASU)  Notice with me that two of the things that John lists here are lusts.  Lust and contentment are opposites of each other.  A lust is an out of control desire while contentment means to have those desires controlled or fulfilled. 

The world that the Apostle John is talking about isn’t this natural world, but instead it is the world’s system.  It is the Greek word “kosmos” from which we get our English word cosmetics.  This word basically means an orderly arrangement or decoration.  The apostle John is telling us that the arrangement or system of the world is made up of two things which are the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes.  Many Christians have become so enthralled with the idea of getting all they can get that they have lost sight of the fact that the commandments of God are to love God and our neighbor, and not the things that are in the world. 

For many people, contentment has become something that is negative about a person instead of a positive and godly attribute.    The reason this is so dangerous is that it takes away from the things that we are supposed to be passionate about.  Those things are, loving God with everything we have and loving our neighbor equal to ourselves.  Let us notice also that there are two types of lust.  One is for things that are fleshly or natural things.  This can be everything from sexual lust to food to a new car.  The second lust is for the things the eye sees.  What are these things?  They are things like fame, popularity, and authority.  Basically, things you can see, but not feel with your hands. 

So what is contentment?  Contentment is a condition of the heart.  It really has nothing to do with the conditions around us.  The Apostle Paul told us that he could be content in any situation.  In Philippians 4:11, Paul says, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”  Paul was saying that he isn’t at a place that he doesn’t have enough.  Paul has just received an offering from the church at Philippi.  He is in a place of contentment, but notice what he says next.  Paul has learned to be content in every circumstance.  Paul tells us that he has learned how to live with little and much.  He has learned the secret of being content in hunger and when he was filled.  What was that secret?  How could he live contented in every situation?  Paul tells us in verse 13 where he says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  The secret of contentment is found in the strength that Christ gives.  What is this strength?  It is the strength that takes our desires and controls them.  Instead of looking to things or positions to be empowered, the Apostle Paul looked to the power of God in Christ.  I know that seems odd.  We have such a tendency to look at things or positions to be fulfilled or content.  Paul looked at the empowerment of Christ for his contentment.  He knew that no matter what circumstance he was in, he could be content because Christ empowered him. 

Today if you’re struggling with being content, listen to Paul’s secret to contentment.  Rely on the power of Christ to fulfill you.  Things will always grow old.  Power and position will never be enough, but in Christ you can find contentment.  Turn to Him today and ask for that same power that Paul had to live a contented life.

 

 

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