Will you choose Contentment?
I realize that some of you may not like the concept of New Years Resolutions – probably because every year that you make them – you break them. Yes, that’s me too. But whether you like resolutions or not, we make resolutions every day of our lives.
We choose. We decide. We resolve!
Each day we make a decision, or a resolution to act in a certain way, or treat another person a certain way, or to live a certain life, or be a certain type of person, we MAKE a decision- a Resolution.*
( *Resolutions for Woman – Priscilla Shirer.)
Resolutions /decisions / choices define who you are, they determine the life you lead- they shape your tomorrow.
Decisions shape our today and tomorrow
A resolution is something we will do anyway, therefore, does it not make sense to be more intentional about our life resolutions?
Resolutions are moments of decisions we take, that change who you are and impact the people around you.
Being intentional about our resolutions means that we develop and craft life RESOLUTION STATEMENTS that determine who we will be, what lives we will lead and what life choices we will make. And when the RESOLUTION STATEMENTS we craft, are based on Gods promises and His word, a Godly transformation takes place within, we are led by Gods Spirit and you experience an overflow of Gods blessings in your life.
Our lives begin to change and we impact the people around us, our values, beliefs and actions are aligned with those of God and we become dedicated to God and His will. You resolve to live life Gods way, a life filled with the riches and fullness of God. A life that will also be characterized by contentment.
But let me ask you this first….Are you satisfied?
Do you have enough?
Are you hurried, or are you at peace?
Perhaps I should ask – “when will enough be enough?”
Did you know that the opposite of contentment is feeling “unfulfilled”, unsatisfied, incomplete, dissatisfied, and yet, the precursor to inner peace is satisfaction or contentment?
How many of you would like to discover the secret to contentment, to be happy?
Of course you do.
The longing to be happy is a universal human experience ( John Piper – Desiring God) but the search for happiness in many peoples lives can create a restlessness and discontent when that search is based on our external circumstances. It leads to discontent, because humans always seem to want what they cannot have. Because what we have is never enough, and the world breeds discontent in us.
We are bombarded by media telling us that we are incomplete, unfulfilled if we don’t have this or that. The world tells us that you are not good enough if you don’t look like this, or don’t have that object or that person… and yet, “ God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him” (John Piper- Desiring God) and therein lies the secret of contentment.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11 “ I have learnt the secret of contentment.” Paul LEARNT this secret – the secret of contentment. Paul didn’t just discover this mystery of God – He learnt this secret, the hard way. This means that over time and in the university of life and hard knocks, he learnt the secret of contentment.
This wasn’t just a supernatural gift that God bestowed on Him – He learnt the value and secret of contentment when he was being chased out of Ephesus.He learnt this secret when he was chained in jail. He learnt this secret when he was being whipped and stoned and harassed. He learnt this secret when he was shipwrecked.
But his contentment was not just a state of denialism or an acceptance of his situation. He wasn’t just content, because he threw up his hands and said “ it is what IT IS” Que sera sera…whatever will be will be” NO.
His joy and his contentment was not a momentary state of gladness. It was a contented heart, based on the recognition that GOD IS IN CONTROL NO MATTER WHAT!
Paul had discovered the benefits of contentment, come to realize, acquired the skill developed the discipline, honed the ability ) The ability to be content – no matter what.
No matter what is going on in the world. No matter what is happening in your life.
Paul was content even though his external circumstances were not conducive to living in a state of relaxed being.
He learnt this secret when He looked to God for strength in the midst of his trials. His contentment came about because he discovered the secret of contentment found in God. He found his strength and contentment in God. As John Piper writes in Desiring God, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him”
Pauls contentment was BASED ON THE RECOGNITION OF GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND HIS GOODNESS.
Paul made a decision.Paul chose. He resolved to trust God, to delight himself in God and so discovered the secret of contentment. Paul chose the divine plan over his earthly circumstances as he recognized Gods divine plan at work in His life, and he resolved to choose that plan
Paul recognized that all he had was adequate and sufficient, because it was deemed by God to be sufficient. Paul found contentment in God and with God.
It was a vital lesson of learning and growing in contentment so that God “ would strengthen him with power through His spirit in his inner being” . It was believing the scripture in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that “God is able to make every grace overflow so that in every way, always having everything that you need, you may excel in every good work.”
The secret to contentment therefore is recognizing “ Gods sovereign power and Gods sovereign plan & “ Gods providential goodness and His provision”
It also means offering up to God as a sacrifice and offering, your desires and ambitions. Your fear and anxiety. Your dreams, even your hang-ups and then discovering contentment as you place these into Gods hands and saying: “ I trust you God.” “ I trust your sovereign power” “ I trust your goodness and your provision” and then delighting yourself in God.
It does not mean doing nothing. it becomes a change of attitude, a change of heart while you do what you need to do. It becomes a state of being directed and guided in the right direction and instead of being dragged down by stress and anxiety, you are filled with peace knowing Gods Got This!
When we trust His power, we begin to see the miracle of Philippians 4:19 become a reality which says: My God will meet all your needs according to your riches in Christ Jesus”
1 Tim 6:6 tells us that “True Godliness with contentment is itself of great worth”
Paul had resolved to be content by trusting in God and receiving an inner strength from God based on Philippians 4: 13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Chaplain Philip Stoneman – Fairleads Benoni
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