Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Concluding Thoughts on Contentment

Sorry for my absence... the two weeks of sickness lead to one dirty house that needed my full attention. I am also trying to finish a drama for our Ladies event next week! Anyways back to contentment :-) I apologize for how long this is. I could've broke it up into two sections but for fear that it might be another week before I have time to sit and write I went ahead and made it one entry.

How to find Contentment?

Meditate on the Cross-
Think about the cross daily and how it has affected your life. Let the truth of the gospel affect how you live. We can be content and should be content in the work of Jesus! God never meant for you to find lasting joy in anything other than Christ!

Repent & Pray-
If you come to see that discontent is a sin in your life repent before the Lord. Receive forgiveness and pray that God would grow you in this area. Pray in trials and difficulties that you may learn contentment. Recognize Idols in you life- ask yourself What is it that would make me content?

Cultivate Thankfulness-
A contended soul is a thankful soul.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks.

Let's give thanks in everything. Every trial, every circumstance we face- give thanks! For God is at work!
When I am face with an opportunity to complain, I try to instead be thankful. As I put this into practice I am amazed at how much there is to be thankful for! And also amazed that you really can take any situation and find something to be thankful to God for! Thank you Lord for this trial, for the chance to be sanctified!
I think another good way to practice cultivating thankfulness is in our conversation with one another. Share you thanksgiving with one another. Point out evidences of grace in one another to help cultivate thankfulness in their life! Psalm 105:1 O give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name make known his deeds among the people!

Purse humility-
Often I get myself into trouble with discontentment when I start thinking of myself more highly than I ought. When I start thinking thoughts like " I deserve" such and such. I deserve to have Chris treat me a certain way. I deserve to be noticed for my hard work! These thoughts are all proud and arrogant.

" The humble man is the contented man; if his estate be low, his heart is lower than his estate; therefore be content. If his esteem in the world be low, he that is little in his own eyes, will not be much troubled to be little in the eyes of others. He hath a meaner opinion of himself than others can have of him. The humble man studies his own unworthiness; he looks upon himself as less than the least of God's mercies and then a little will content him. He doth not say his comforts are small, but his sins are great. He thinks it is a mercy he is out of hell, therefore is contented!"

And that's the key- we deserve hell, God's wrath. Not a life of comfort and ease. Instead we have God's grace. Let the truth of this humble you!

Live for the Eternal World, Not The Earthly One-
A contented Christian carries heaven about him; for what is heaven but that sweet repose and full contentment that the soul shall have in God? Waston

Matthew 6 warns us to no to store up treasures here on earth that will fade away but rather store up treasures in heaven that will last for all of eternity!

Chris and I took a trip to Prescott last week to visit the campsite for our winter retreat. My parents went with us and on our way home we stopped by the Prescott Country Club where my grandparents use to live. We followed my dad to their house and all stopped and stared for a few minutes. I was a young girl when we made our trips up there almost every weekend but I still have many memories of this house. One was the open backyard. There were no houses behind my grandparent's house and my brother and I use to run around in the back with Grandpa. The other memory was that the house was green. A dark, grassy, color green. When we pulled up to the house I didn't recognize it at first because they had fenced in the back yard and painted the house brown. There was one thing that was the same, the driveway was still made of gravel. When we pulled away the sound of the gravel beneath the tires triggered another memory. Every time we'd leave my grandparents would stand at the front of the driveway and wave goodbye until our car turned out of the cul-de-sac. As Chris drove away this memory came back and I couldn't keep the tears from falling. Yes they were tears partly because even though it's been almost ten years I miss them and selfishly wish they were still on the driveway, waving goodbye! Thankfully being believers in Chris I have the hope of seeing them again. At this moment the Lord helped me see how all to often I live for things that will not last or that in comparison to eternity, in comparison to seeing Jesus face to face, really doesn't matter that much. See my grandparents were no longer there. The clothes they owned, the beautiful china, and antiques were no longer in the house. The money that my grandpa worked so hard to earn was all gone. All that was left was a house that looked completely different. But what has lasted is the memory of my Grandparents reading the word and loving Jesus. Grandpa praying over meals! Things that matter in eternity.

When setting your heart on eternity in heaven it's hard to be discontent with the world! Suddenly things like will I ever get married, will I be have children, will we make enough money to live comfortably? These things don't even have a place in my heart when I have an eternal perspective.

Contentment comes from pursuing Christ, our ultimate example of contentment. Christ, who for the joy set before him endured the cross! All of our needs, wants & desires have been meet at the cross of Christ. Pursue Christ with all that you are and you will be pursuing contentment. Contentment can be achieved but it will not be something that happens overnight. It is learned through the trials and circumstances the Lord gives us. Our sanctification is a process! Join me in praying that we too may be able to say with Paul " I have learned what it means to be content in everything!"

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