Saturday, 23 July 2011

Satisfied in an Unsatisfying World

This post is by my friend Brooke Lambkin, who came and shared on this topic at our women's ministry - so I asked her if she could post it here as well.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1Timothy 6:6

How can I be satisfied in this unsatisfying world? How can I be content? 

As a Christian I should be one of the most satisfied people of my acquaintance because I believe the words of Jesus:

“He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).

I have the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and yet I continue to succumb to the lure of dissatisfaction. Why? I believe it boils down to two things: I do not trust God (as I should) and I am not thankful.

You’ll recall what happened to Eve in the garden. In the moment of her temptation, she didn’t look to the Lord nor did she consider all that He had already given to her with a thankful heart. Instead, she looked at what she didn’t have. She lusted over what wasn’t for her. She coveted.

Coveting is the opposite of contentment. Instead of giving thanks for what we do have, we lust for what we don’t have. And we say to ourselves, I know better than God. God is not giving me what He should be giving me.

Within each of us is the knowledge of eternity. And that “God-shaped hole” is not a little hole because it is meant to be filled by the Eternal God Himself! In fact, you could have the entire creation (galaxies, planets, stars, angels, people, everything!) under your foot, but if you didn’t have God, you would not be satisfied. All of that without God would never be enough!

God is good. He doesn’t make mistakes. In fact everything He does is perfect, not because He chooses to do what’s perfect, but because He’s the eternal, unchanging God. So whatever He does is what is supposed to be done.

The Bible also says that “God is love”. Put those characteristics of Him together and you have a perfect, eternal, unchanging, loving God. That is definitely a good God. And He cares for us.

 In Matthew 7:11 Jesus said, “if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

So the more I trust God and the more I practice thanking God for what He has given me, I believe I’ll be all the more content. Not because my problems have disappeared, my health has improved, and my bank account has grown. But rather I’ll be satisfied to have God and He’ll fill me so to the full that whatever else happens to land in my lap will be in excess of the eternal God Himself.

Practically I can start each day with a prayer of thanksgiving that God is with me because He Himself said He would never leave me or forsake me. And I can commit myself fully to the work of the Lord, because I know that my labor in the Lord is not in vain.

19th century theologian E.B. Pusey (1800-1882) wrote these steps to contentment (in updated English!):

1. Allow yourself to complain about nothing, not even the weather.
2. Never picture yourself under any circumstances in which you are not.
3. Never compare your own lot with that of another.
4. Never allow yourself to dwell on the wish that this or that were otherwise. God Almighty loves you better and more wisely than you do yourself.
5. Never dwell on tomorrow. Remember that it is God's not yours. The heaviest part of sorrow often is to look forward to it. "The Lord will provide."

Oh Lord, please make me more like Your content Son Jesus and less like my old, ungrateful, unsatisfied self. Amen.


Kelly said...

speaking for myself... it's so hard to be 'content'. I think i'm content and then something happens and I'm not. I do thank God for everything, but I find myself praying for more sometimes. Thanks for this post this morning. I needed it :)

Brooke said...

I think sometimes we miss out when we're holding on to what Christ has given us more intently than we hold on to Christ Himself; but I'm thankful the Lord understands our work-in-progress state :)

Anita@Dreaming Beneath the Spires said...

Enjoy your new house. Your steps to contentment are fabulous. Wow!

Rhoda said...

Thanks Anita, I am enjoying it! They are great steps, but not mine though :)

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