Monday, November 12, 2012


I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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.
Philippians 4:11b-12

     The daily grind, everybody has one: kids, adults, high schoolers and working dads – every day starts, moves and ends in almost the same way. We have the same chores, jobs, unpleasantness and mundane tasks every day. This gives us a choice: what do we focus on? Do we focus on the daily boring routine and the unpleasantness of changing a diaper? Or do we focus on the little gifts every day is filled with: the blessings of your day, the ability to do those routines, the joy that the little child brings? Every day we make that choice and our attitudes and actions are a direct result of that choice, and they have direct repercussions on those around us.
     What is there to be content in? We live in a fallen world. Sin, depravity and unpleasantness surround us, even in our families. People lie, steal, hurt our bodies and our feelings, gossip and are just generally not nice. On the same token our surroundings might be not that great as well: it rains, you get sick, your computer crashes, the dog tears up your favorite pair of shoes, and life just generally conspires to bring you down. But what is the common factor in all of these negative circumstances? They are earthly and temporal. Your favorite pair of shoes will not go to heaven with you nor will the feelings that come with an unkind comment. Augustine has a great quote based off Matthew 6:21: “Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is our happiness.” If your heart is with your computer, then of course your happiness will be gone with it. Our focus, our treasure, needs to be in heaven. If our happiness is with our heart, and our heart is with our treasure, then our treasure needs to be in a place that will give our heart eternal satisfaction. When our treasure is in heaven, "every good and perfect gift" can be more easily seen. When we begin to focus on the joy of serving, the blessing of health and the love of Christ, everything — every negative, unpleasant and mundane thing — merely serves to highlight our blessings in other areas of life.
     The negative, mundane and unpleasant do serve a purpose. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Not only are we to be content through our trials, but we are to consider it “pure joy” when we are confronted with suffering, temptation and trials. God has blessed us with the ability to grow through the storms of life, and for that we should be grateful.
     One of my favorite passages when I feel I have a need is Philippians 4:11-13 and 19; “I can do everything through him who gives me strength. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Every need will be filled, and all things can be done through Christ. Our omnipotent God in heaven has given us the ability to be content in any and every situation. The song As Long As You Are Glorified points us right where we need to be. In the chorus the writer says; “In Your love I will abide/I long for nothing else as long/As You are glorified.” Throughout the song the writer puts extremes of blessing and hardship in comparison, and concludes that our circumstances don’t matter as long as Christ is glorified.
    Being content is independent of our circumstances; it is a heart attitude that comes from focusing on Christ. Honoring Him with our actions brings meaning to our trials and temptation and gives us the ability to focus on something beyond ourselves  allowing us to put our treasure, heart, and happiness beyond ourselves in a place where “no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

     Leaping Lizard

Image by Leaping Lizard


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