Friday, June 1, 2012

Real Contentment

Where is true contentment found? What does it mean to be truly content?

These are questions that I have been pondering the past few days. Even though I know that true contentment is found in Christ and in Christ alone, I wonder how I know so many Christians who are discontent and so few who are truly content with their lives; and I wonder how I can sometimes be so discontent with where the Lord has me in my own life.

This can be seen in a number of "subtle" ways:

When I complain about the changes in my life, am I not showing that I am discontent with what God has allowed in my life? When I worry about the future, am I not revealing that I am discontent with the Lord's faithfulness in my life? When I am negative about my job, am I not discontent with the Lord's provision in my life? When I am bitter about my life, am I not truly saying that I am discontent with the Lord's sovereignty in where He has me right now? When I wish for a relationship or a friendship or money or possessions that I do not have, am I not actually discontent with the Lord's goodness in what He has given me?

Oh, Lord, forgive this undeserving and discontented heart.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, italics mine).

That word - season - has been a recurring thought in my mind for the past few days as I have been pondering what true contentment is. It is obvious that there are different seasons of life as we all grow older. However, each of our lives is filled with different life seasons that we can either resist or embrace; we can either be discontent with where the Lord has us or we can be content in knowing that He has us exactly where He wants us.

True contentment is not found in pretending. It is not found in putting on a facade, a mask, fooling ourselves and others that we are content with the way that our lives are. True contentment is not "faking it 'til you make it" - living in self-deception until your heart and mind believe that you are content. True contentment is not found in temporal pleasures and treasures that this world offers; how can one find true contentment in those things which are temporary and fleeting? True contentment is not found in friendships and relationships; how can true contentment be found in mere human beings who will never fail to disappoint and who can never fulfill every need of our heart and life? True contentment is found in only one place - in the Will of God our Father who loves us and has a plan for us.

God may have you in a season of desperation - of tragedy, of loss, of pain. He may have you in a season of change or of loneliness or of mourning. Ecclesiastes says that "for everything there is a season", including a time to die, to weep, to mourn, and to lose. However, there is also a time for healing and laughing and dancing. The Lord has a purpose for everything and to deny that is to deny His sovereignty and His faithfulness and His goodness. Those in a relationship with Christ have found true treasure and should be the most contented and joyful people in the world. It is a tragedy that so many Christians are unhappy and discontent.

True contentment is found solely - only, completely, wholly - in Christ and in Christ alone. Until we realize this, we will never be content. Life is full of changes and nothing except Christ, our Solid Rock, is consistent and unchanging.

And for this, I praise the One who gave me life - this particular life - for it is Him who gives me my every breath and it is for Him that my every breath is breathed. It is Him who has placed me here for such a time as this, Him who has formed my life, and Him who knows the end from the beginning and the big picture that I cannot see. It is Him who is faithful, who is true, who is consistent, who is unchanging, and whose promises and love are unfailing. And it is in Him that I can be truly relieved, loved, and content. Thank You, Father.

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