October 3, 2022 — Content or Contentious?

“Do you remember that the apostle Paul wrote about how he had learned to be content in all circumstances?” Stan asked me one morning while we waited for breakfast.

“Yeah,” I replied, “a little bit. Didn’t he write about that in connection with also writing that he was able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him?”

‘That’s right,” Stan replied. “It’s a powerful statement about the source of our contentment. A source that one of my neighbors seems to really need.”

“How so?” I asked.

“What it looks like to me,” Stan replied, “is that this one particular neighbor, in the exact opposite of what Paul wrote about, has learned to be contentious is every circumstance.”

“Learned to be contentious rather than content?” I said. “What’s that all about?”

“I don’t know what it’s all about,” Stan replied. “All I know is that this particular person can find something wrong with just about everything. If we have a beautiful day, it’s too hot and it will probably rain tomorrow. If the pastor gives a fabulous message, it was too long. You know what I mean.”

“I do know what you mean,” I said. “What do you think we are supposed to do with people like that?”

“Love them,” Stan said. “Pray for them. Encourage them to see what the source of being content is all about. Above all, don’t let their contentiousness and lack of being content pull you down and away from being content.” 

“I’m not sure all that is easy,” I replied.

“I don’t remember anyone saying that it is or is supposed to be easy,” Stan replied. “If it was easy and everyone could do it on their own, there wouldn’t have been any reason for Paul to write about what he did.”

“In what way?”

“That he, as well as we, can do all things through Him who strengthens us. And,” Stan added, “I think ‘all things’ includes this!”

_______________________________

Bible verses to consider:

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in.  Philippians 4:11.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13.

That He would would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. Ephesians 3:16.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for the contentment you have provided through the cross of Christ. I am content in knowing I will spend eternity in your presence when it is time. I confess that too often I am not as content as you intend for me to be on this side of eternity. You know, and I know, that the source of such discontentment is self and the self-focused desires to have things only the way I want apart from you. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live this life you have given to me without being content in all things. And please help me follow every step of your lead in knowing and following the source of all such contentment. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of the One who strengthens me to do all things. Amen.

Think on this: Are you content for eternal purpose because you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence? If no, why have you not accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him forever? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being content on this side of eternity? If you sense the need for change in how you rely on the only Source of true contentment, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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