CONTENTMENT:  the road to peace

CONTENTMENT: the road to peace

November 29, 2023 0 By Tami George

I have learned that contentment is NOT: contingent on circumstances, controlling, comparing myself to others, or complacency. As I continue my journey; wrestling through my questions, processing my grief and struggling with the pain, I am learning what it means to be content.  

DEFINING CONTENTMENT

The Webster’s Dictionary defines contentment as…

the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.

I would define contentment as a calm acceptance of what is; not dwelling on what was, could be, or trying to make it so. It is a confident trust in the ONE who never changes, who controls all things, and who knows what is best for me.

CONTENTMENT IS CHOOSING TO REMEMBER

It is a constant struggle to fix my thoughts on the Truth of God’s character and meditate on His promises.  I often forget there are bigger purposes at play than what is going on in just my little circle of the universe.  I must REMEMBER who God is.

God is God, and I am not. 

HE is holding EVERYTHING together… Not me.

In I Peter 5:6-7 Peter reminds us of this. “Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

I must choose humility over pride, patience over control, trust over fear and remember that the Creator of the universe loves me and cares for me much more than I can fathom.  Therefore, I can bring him everything that causes me anxiety and discontent.  Worrying about circumstances, relationships, the future…ANYTHING, changes absolutely NOTHING! I am only robbed of the present.  Research is proving that even my health and ability to fight disease are affected when I worry. 

There is freedom and healing in acknowledging my weaknesses to God.  He created me and already sees them anyway.  However, He is also the One who has promised to make me strong when I am weak and grant peace beyond understanding.  My choice is to do my part, bring all my cares, burdens, and anxieties to the Lord.

CONTENTMENT IS A CALM COMFORT IN GOD’S PROVISION

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry because the Father provides for the birds and clothes the fields.  Our Heavenly Father will definitely meet our needs for we are much more important.  He challenges us to seek His kingdom first, not earthly cares. The temptation to focus on this life and forget to view it through the scope of eternity, is VERY real. I get distracted by wishing I had more or better things.  I forget that my worth and value are not based on what I own. 

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

A WARNING

In I Timothy 6:6-9, Paul warns Timothy against greed and how it jeopardizes our faith walk.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

I like how the Amplified Bible explains verse 6: “But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God].”

This point is reiterated in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Not only will God provide for our material needs, but He promises to be with us ALWAYS.  He provides Himself and with that I should be content for He is ALL-SUFFICIENT.

CONTENTMENT IS CONFIDENCE IN GOD & HIS PURPOSES

I can take comfort in the fact that ALL things are for a purpose–ultimately, the glory of God.  My purpose in life remains the same whether I am crushed low or raised high atop the mountain.  When I am in need or have surplus; if I live in Illinois or Pennsylvania, I am still living for the purpose of making my Savior known and doing ALL for His glory.

I can be confident no matter what happens to me that the Blessed Controller of all things is MIGHTY enough to use even the worst of circumstances for His good purposes.  God can make me a confident over-comer if I place my hope and trust in Him.  Like Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “…you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” 

CONTENTMENT IS A CELEBRATION OF GOD

I have learned that contentment is more than feeling satisfied.  It is an active response to the very character of God.  God is not dependent on my circumstances to be who He is. God does not change!  The question I must continually ask is, will I judge God based on my current circumstances (which will eventually change), OR will I view my circumstances through the lens of God’s character and His Truth? 

Habakkuk’s Example

Habakkuk 3:17-19 is one of my favorite passages. In this short OT book, the prophet does not understand why God was allowing such evil and lawlessness. He questioned the ways of God. He demanded an explanation and when God responded with, “…the righteous will live by his faith”, Habakkuk had to decide.

Would he continue complaining, trying to figure everything out OR choose to wait on God and trust Him.  Even though he did not know why everything was happening, or how, or when things would get better, was he content with who he knew Yahweh to be?  His decision is recorded in the last verses of the book.  His declaration of resolve to trust God and wait on Him, EVEN IF everything is lost is what I pray I am learning, as well.

“Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.”

CONTINUING ON THE ROAD

I heard this song not that long ago and thought it was a beautiful acknowledgement of what it means to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand.  A simple declaration of trust in the God who sees it all, when I only see a sliver.  He has, is and always will be faithful. I wanted to share.

From Everlasting by Sovereign Grace Music

As I pursue God, remembering and reflecting on all that He has done; being still in His presence, I am learning more and more what it means to be content.  HE is the reason, the source, and the means by which I can have true and lasting contentment.  I can rest securely in all the chaos of life because I am known and loved by my Creator.  My everlasting, unchanging, and strong God holds me.  May my life overflow with praise to the One who makes me strong for ALL the things and constantly infuses strength in me.”

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer.  You are yourself the answer.” 

C.S. Lewis