I gave the following sermon at church a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share it with you all here. If you’re anything like me, being and staying content can be a struggle. But God! Here are a few thoughts the Lord gave me to share…
Here’s a story about an adorable baby named Lily:
Since birth she’s had her eyes on her big sister. She tracks her around the room with her eyes, and from the moment she became mobile, all she wants to do is keep up with her. While learning to crawl she would straighten her arms and legs in baby plank position. As she rocked back and forth, making little progress, she’d growl and fuss in frustration. This went on until she learned to crawl, but before she mastered that she was already pulling herself up to stand and perhaps even walk. She barely made it to one stage before she wanted to race to the next one! As I observed her I noticed 3 things:
1. She was frustrated with herself for not being ‘there’ yet.
2. She sees all that her sissy was doing and getting and wants to have those things too.
3. When she eventually did start crawling she was already trying to walk. No pause to embrace the current season.
Granted, in saying all of this I completely acknowledge the fact that she’s a baby, & of course this is normal, but how often do we exhibit the very same behavior when faced with our various circumstances??
Content: a state of satisfaction; desiring no more than what one has
Greek/autarkeia: sufficiency of the necessities of life
Are you content?
If, like me, you find yourself identifying with any of these scenarios, you may need to re-evaluate.:
1. Are you holding yourself to an unrealistic standard? Stop endlessly striving for perfection. It’s a farce! There was only one perfect person to walk the earth and it wasn’t any of us.
I have to be so mindful about what I say to and around my toddler. As a simple expression I’ve used the word perfect to describe something wonderful or great, but she’s already interpreted that word to mean much more…we can’t do that it’s not perfect, etc. Perfectionism is debilitating.
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14 NKJV)
We don’t need to be perfect. God did that already! Do we honestly think we can do it better than Him?
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)
Our/my natural inclination is to hide our weaknesses because we wouldn’t dare want our faults to be exposed, but you know what? They’re cool with God. Without them we wouldn’t even need Him. Be kind to yourself. God’s grace is enough!
2. Do you ever compare your situation to others? Stop that! Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s a trap! Watching others and using what you think they have as a measuring stick is a sure road to misery. Be patient as you press through your own situation. Remember that what others have in no way impacts what God has for you! He has enough to go around. We should be encouraged in knowing that He shows no partiality! You can certainly admire and look up to someone, but you’ll waste all the time in the world looking at ‘Sally’ over there with the better hair, nicer clothes, better-behaved kids, sweeter husband, more fit body…you will ALWAYS find the ‘better’, but little do you know someone is praying to have a fifth of what you have. ALWAYS.
A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. (Proverbs 14:30 NKJV)
By being envious you’re causing harm to yourself, and I bet that other person is living their life unaware and not caring that whatever they have is vexing you!
Yet and still it’s a struggle. Why? We have too much love for the world and things in the world.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:15-17 NKJV)
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting new and nice things. I do. But when we lust after those things and begin seeking them more than God, that’s a problem! Instead of chasing after the next big thing, how about being more eager to fall in line with the ways of the Lord? Oh but in our flesh dwells no good thing!
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (I Timothy 6:6-7 NKJV)
It’s just stuff, yet stuff gets us in so much trouble sometimes!
Let your 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.” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV)
In other words:
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice(extreme greed or wealth), lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)
We can hold on so tightly to things, yet nothing we could ever possess could ever compare to God’s hold on us!
3. Instead of trying to fast forward on your current season, learn what you can from it. I’d prefer to skip past a lot but mostly because they take me out of my comfort zone.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)
Pitfalls of Being Discontent:
1. You begin seeking ways to experience joy and contentment outside of God.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
I’m not always happy. I get down and moody and sad, but true joy is lasting. Joy is a choice. Happiness vs joy. Know the difference. Joy is a fruit of the spirit and given by God.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NKJV)
2. You open yourself up to the root of bitterness which causes division, strife, impatience, entitlement, negativity, and anger, to name a few.
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; (Hebrews 12:15 NKJV)
Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. (Hebrews 12:14-17 MSG)
Esau gave up his birthright for some food!!!! Seriously? But when you’re discontent, even minor things seem major. He wanted his belly to be full. He was famished and that lentil stew brought him contentment, however brief. (read more starting at Genesis 25)
In closing, remember this:
You may find yourself fighting to keep your peace and joy; fighting to be content where God has you. We don’t have our own place yet, but I can see our home in my mind and I’ve ordered some items here and there to go up in our new home. One of them was a print with this quote “Turn your eyes upon Jesus and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Isn’t that what it’s all about? It all boils down to Jesus and choosing to place Him in the forefront where He belongs, while gaining perspective on the things of this world.
Remember that God sees you. He knows. He loves you right where you are and wants to bring you to that new place; but it’s up to you to trust in His timing and have faith enough to embrace where you are.
I will ask once more.
Are you content?…