June 13, 2008

What is contentment?

(I wrote this weeks ago and left it on my computer waiting to be published. Yesterday I was going through my draft folder and found it again, right when I really needed to hear it. God is so gracious to me)

Contentment; A state of satisfaction with what one has, to experience the freedom from want.(Dictionary)

Is contentment resigning one self? Is it having every possible dream fulfilled? Is it feeling a sense of martyrdom by not buying the latest TV, or fashions? Is it saying heroically that it is better to be single so that you can serve God better while silently cursing your friend for having a boyfriend?

I think contentment is a choice, it needs to be done willingly, with a sense of eternity; realising that ‘things’ in the life don’t really matter. Real contentment is fixing your eyes on God and eternal things and not letting the lure of earthly things capture you. It is saying 'Your will be done, You know better than I"

We can not base our contentment on earthly things. We often say things like“If I am married then I will be content.” Or “If I could just pay off a home, it will be enough.” Yet once one thing is done, another will always come along. There is always just one more thing until we are content. In this world we will never really be satisfied.

Contentment rejoices and enjoys what you do have, while discontentment shuns what it has and always looks for something better.

Try as we might we can't come to true contentment on our own. We can still deny ourselves but be miserable about it. We could also be happy to live an unproductive life. But to live a productive and fulfilling life while also being content, we need God’s help. We need to ask Him to help us enjoy what He has given and not look for something better, to look at where He has placed us and ask "What is it you have planned for me to do?" rather than say "But I thought you wanted me over there doing that." It is the Holy Spirit alone working in us who turns our thoughts to the eternal qualities in this life, not the earthly qualities.

Remember that often quoted verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”?
If you read the beginning of that passage it takes on a slightly different meaning;

I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Photo from sxc


Anonymous said...

Wow, Erin!
I needed to hear that myself tonight. Contentment is something God has been bringing to my attention as well. I really lack it many times.
I love your writings. They are very honest and filled with grace. I'll add you to my blogroll! :)

Thanks for writing for Jesus.
God bless.
Please stop by Alabaster Box again! :)

Erin said...

Thanks for your kind words kaysie