Starting today’s blog with a random fact about me: I have never been enough. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to win in this department. I color my hair, I wear the latest styles, I drive a nice car. I am nice to people I run into, I laugh to make people happy, I encourage others to see them light up. Fun Fact: this will never make anyone have joy. I will never be enough.
I have struggled with this my entire life. I am, by nature, a people pleaser. I like to see people happy, especially those I love and care for. Yet they don’t like the way I chew, or talk. They don’t like my annoying habits. They see someone prettier or someone who can make them happier. I feel like I am constantly being hurt by how others feel about me. So if others can’t be content in me, who can I be content in?
One thing is for sure, the culture doesn’t help us out. But does this culture really know what we need? Because it’s obvious that it hasn’t stopped at food, it hasn’t stopped at clothes, it hasn’t stopped at who is prettier, and it hasn’t stopped at having a place to sleep. So why do we let the culture tell us what we need, when we have a God who has an unlimited supply of resources, who takes care of the flowers and the birds, who promised to never leave us or forsake us? Don’t let the culture confuse you, don’t let the culture trick you into thinking you NEED more. As Christians, our needs are supposed to exceed our wants, not the other way around. So we need to be content with what we have. Be content with having what we need. Paul understood this. When Paul said, “Not that I speak from want,” he’s saying, “I already have everything that I need, I trust God to take care of my needs.”
In a world that will consistently show me I am never ENOUGH. Christ came to die on a cross in a shameful death to show me that I am ENOUGH for Him. And that is ENOUGH for me.
- It was God’s grace that made me realize that I was so drawn to the things of this world that I could not be content in Christ alone.
- It was God’s grace that made me grieve over the sinful state of my soul.
- It was God’s grace that made me hunger to have a heart that was truly grateful.
- It was God’s grace that made his word come alive to me as I struggled.
- It was God’s grace that motivated me to cry out to Him for help.
It was God’s grace that touched me and changed me so that I could be content in Christ alone.
Philippians 4:13 is a verse used by many people, especially athletes. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Sounds pretty and delightful, but lets take it back. Check out what comes before that.. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Sure, we can do ALL things, anything through Him.. but I think its saying more. Paul had seen all this world had to throw his way, good & bad.. but he knew the only CONTENTMENT he could find was through Christ.
Several years ago Esther K. Rusthoi wrote a song with these words, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.” I think she was right. Whatever hardship, suffering, and grief we are called to experience in this life, someday it will be worth it all. Until then we struggle. Sometimes we struggle with great energy and enthusiasm. Sometimes we struggle weakly at the threshold of defeat. But whatever happens, may this be our enduring source of contentment, that Christ alone is enough. And may his sustaining power keep us, even as he has promised.
Christian contentment remains a mystery to those on the outside and can only be learned from the inside by those who are in Christ. In truth contentment is a quiet secret known by a few. Paul learned it over a period of time, part of his spiritual growth. How do we learn the secret of contentment, are we content, right now? Can I say that I’m content in any circumstance? That I’m completely satisfied in any situation? The secret to contentment is only available to Christians who have a sovereign God who is ahead of everything, because when you look at the rest of the world, they are always wanting more, needing more. You have to believe that God is in control of everything, and that everything is for His own Holy purpose. Romans 8:28 Says “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Everything is controlled by a sovereign God who makes all things work together for good. Do we believe that? That we can find contentment in the God who holds everything together?
Horatio Spafford was a well known lawyer. He was a devout Christian that had to face one of the greatest tragedies this world has to offer, the death of his children. Yes, not child, children. He lost his son, and a few years later lost the rest of his children, 4 daughters to a shipwreck. This man was a man who knew that this world had nothing to offer him. He faced the greatest heartache a person could face, 5 times over, and then sat down and wrote this well known hymn:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul.
Life can have a way of never making us feel good enough. Of never letting us be content, of giving us constant heartache. But even so, it is well, with my soul.
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.” Luke 6:21-23