Statistics tell us one of the top desires of most Christians is to grow closer to God. But in a recent Barna poll, 65% of us admitted that we were moving away from Him rather than toward Him.
We’re losing the battle. We’re losing the battle to “enough.” We never have enough. Not enough money, not enough time, not enough of anything.
Can we ever feel contentment in our lives?
Does it always have to be a struggle?
Where’s the peace that God promises us?
In Philippians 4:11 Paul writes, “I have learned to be contented in whatever the circumstances.” Paul was in prison, walked thousands of miles, rode donkeys and camels, and sat in leaking boats (I complain about the size of an airline seat). He learned to be contented.
How did he do that?
We might think about rewording that verse this way, “I have been educated by my experience to be contained”. He educated himself to be contented and then contained his fretting. He found joy.
Contentment is the result of the resources contained in our heart. In other words… if my heart is filled with Jesus, He will be my contentment. But if I fill my heart and mind with what I think will satisfy me, or what I think I need, (stuff) I will be constantly striving and never be contented – never find joy.
Happiness is about things – stuff. Joy comes into our lives when we focus our heart and minds on the abundant grace of God. Joy is a Godly attribute and joy is what Christ wants us to have because happiness is the worldly substitute.
We’re told in Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run the endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.”
Jesus saw the joy.
So why can’t we find that level of joy in our lives?
It’s about the relationship. Contentment comes when we have immersed ourselves so completely in trusting Him that disastrous situations become challenges and don’t defeat us.
Recently this summer, one of the victims of the devastating Sand Canyon Fire that swept through the Santa Clarita Valley just outside LA came to the platform at the church I attend and told her story of her home of many years burning into ashes and losing everything. She had to evacuate with only a moments notice. She was joyous. The fire might have consumed her stuff but it couldn’t consume her joy and contentment. She told the mesmerized audience Sunday that God had reminded her of the scripture in Revelation 25:5 (NIV) “…I am making everything new… Write it down, for these words are trustworthy and true”.
I challenge you to write it down…. Write down His blessings in your life and choose to live in contentment and joy.