Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Great Contentment- Yeah, Right!

The other day, I found myself falling into regret, complaining to the Lord for the circumstances of my life, and at one point an all out full blown temper tantrum. My life was not going the way that I thought it should be. I could not understand why the Lord was not letting certain things take place in my life, when I had asked in prayer and supplication, diligently, daily asking and waiting. I found myself asking the Lord, “why?” Why had this happened? What was going on? I was upset and mad at myself for the stupid decision I had made, and wanted Him to fix it. He wasn’t going to. I ended up letting all of my frustration out on a fellow sister in the Lord through and email. After I sent the email I was filled with conviction, and asked for her forgiveness. She replied with a scripture passage and a question- a question that was on my heart from the moment I read the email all the way through to this morning. It was a simple question that led me on a quest for hidden treasure this morning!
If the answer to my prayer is “no” will I still be thankful for what I have in Him? This was not the exact question, but that is what the Lord asked me after I read the email. I found myself asking that question over and over again. This morning, as I was taking my daughter to school and pondering on that question, a word came into my head. Contentment- simple word, one would think!
Content has three different meanings in the Bible. The Hebrew word for content is “ya-al” which means: to begin, make a beginning, show willingness and be pleased. In the Greek, based on its context, it means: to be possessed of unfailing strength; be sufficient; be enough (Luke 3:14; 1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5 and 3 John 1:10) it also means to be strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support (Philippians 4:11). I can honestly say I fit into none of these descriptions. In fact, I am the exact opposite of content which is (and this hurt) to covet. If we are not content, then we are in covetousness. Yikes! I did not realize that when I started out on my little treasure hunt for understanding today that I would land into such a sin as this! I thought- (that is where the trouble started) - I thought! Hebrews 13:5 says that we are to “let our conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
There is only one way to find and to have great contentment in this life, there is only one way to have victory over this sin of covetousness in my life, and that is through Jesus Christ, and what He has done for me. What else in this life matters more than He? We desire a ministry, we desire many things, but in the end, what is the one thing that matters above all else? In the end, what will we have if we gain the whole world and loose our souls? (Matthew 16:26) Nothing- in the end, covetousness leads to regret, it leads to temper tantrums, it leads to a dissatisfied and bitter life. I would know, because I have been living it a lot lately. You see, I have coveted something that I regretted giving up awhile ago. It was a simple thing, but it has become an obsession for me because I coveted it- I could not be content with where the Lord had me, I wanted it all. I became consumed with the desire- not from the Lord, but because I wanted it.
The root of contentment in our lives begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Paul said in Philippians 4:11 “not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” He had learned through experience how to be content- and we must learn the same way. We may never get the ministry we want, we may never have the riches that others have, we may never live the way we want- but in the end, there is only one thing, one way, one ministry that we need- and that is Jesus Christ.
So, what is the lesson we need to learn today, that I needed to learn today? First, I needed to see that the regret that I was feeling and the hurt in my heart was not from the Lord, but from the sin of covetousness that was in my heart. The restlessness and the complaining, the whining (and I was whining pretty well) came from that sin that was buried deep in my heart. Secondly, that there is only one thing that I “need” in my life and that is Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters, in the end the only thing that will remain out of my life is Jesus Christ and Him crucified (Galatians 2:20). And lastly, the lesson that I learned today is how to recognize and confess this sin of covetousness in my heart, and how to live in contentment.  The final part of my lesson today came from Joshua 7:7.
 “And Joshua said, ‘Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all- to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!” Joshua 7:7. If I find myself asking “why” then I am most likely falling into discontent which will lead to covetousness. When I find myself complaining and wondering “why” then I need to go and have my heart checked by my God. Discontent leads to covetousness and covetousness leads to regret and bitterness towards God and others. That was the road I was finding myself on, that was the road the Lord knocked me off of this morning. And He follows this lesson up with a simple question, “if my answer to you is no or never- will you be content with that?”  Yes Lord, I am content with that.
May the God of all peace, the God of all mercy and grace open your hearts to receive His word today. May you find the peace that you seek and the contentment that we have in Him. He will never leave us nor forsake us, what greater contentment can we have than that? Be blessed and may the God of all peace fill your hearts today. Amen!