Thinking about Contentment

Contentment-                

1Timothy 6: 2-10

These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

 

Contentment-  the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind; being emotionally or mentally satisfied with things as they are.

Synonyms: complacency, fulfillment, gratification, pleasure, satisfaction, serenity, ease, equanimity, gladness, peace, repletion

Similar feelings: abundance, amenity, assuagement, coziness, creature comforts, enjoyment, gratification, happiness, plenty, relaxation, relief, repose, restfulness, sufficiency, well-being

 

Closure, serenity, being centered, living in the now, the Word calls it contentment. And there’s nothing quite like it.

“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind (Ecc.1:14).”  This yearning for something that we don’t have is how many of us live.

In those brief moments when we do experience it, we hunger for the permanence of contentment, thirst for meaningfulness.  Can it be met under this sun?

What are some things that give us that feeling of contentment?

 

In our consumer driven society, we enjoy an extravagant supply of extra unnecessary options. They fill driveways and garages, closets and storage buildings.  Things that need to be maintained, updated and even once in a while, they get enjoyed, even if it is only to show them off and create yearning in others!

Technology, fashion, hobbies, jewelry, decorating, perfection in our lawn, adding to the places we been and things seen and done….fulfilling our “bucket list.”

We work hard to justify the things we desire.  We may even become obsessed, until finally, God smashes our little fantasy with some dispassionate reality.  We waste time, money, opportunities to build relationships, and productive living sometimes longing for things.  And tell ourselves again and again, “I’ll be happy when I finally have………..(whatever it is!)”

Our longings can become obsessions, even addictions, as we fight compulsiveness. Compulsive behavior can waste terrible chunks of time on stupid tangents. It can cause us to go beyond our financial ability into territory that creates anxiety.

What does God tell us to do?

Be content. Keep it simple. Focus on what really matters in life. People, not things. God wants us engaged in touching the lives of people around us. People who tell you what you NEED, often simply want your money. Don’t become a slave to things. Possess only what’s working for you, not the other way around

Do we intentionally create enough space, or margin in life to allow the Holy Spirit to move freely in and through us?

For example, If one is practicing contentment she would stop filling every moment of the day with activity. I would intentionally leave large blocks of time unscheduled so that there would be room for God’s expression of love for me to manifest itself. Longing to constantly be in motion, even feeling the need to watching tv or reading a book when sitting, is evidence of a struggle to actually practice contentment. It is truly difficult to practice stillness, moments of no action, and thus it becomes really difficult to sense God’s presence. This may be why we struggle with the spiritual discipline of cultivating contentment.

Contentment elevates us above the trappings of a fallen world.  It can be achieved on a more or less continual basis, but it depends on trusting and depending upon God, restraining our appetites, and keeping the “main thing” the main thing, being conscious of being still and practicing the presence of God.

When we gain the gift of contentment, we can even laugh in the face of want  because God is our Provider.

 

Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 91:16

With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

 

Job 36:11

If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.

 

Proverbs 19:23

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

 

Philippians 4:10-12

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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.

 

What “secrets” have we learned about achieving contentment?

Tonight, as we focused on “contentment”….We read these Scriptures that instructed us on how to obtain and sustain contentment and its accompanying spiritual/emotional benefits. We discussed 3 “secrets”, in somewhat the same way that the Apostle Paul said he had learned, for remaining content in all circumstances- trusting God’s strength and provision instead of our own, remembering the ways in which God has been faithful in the past, and believing in God’s promises.

 

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

 

Does your relationship with the Lord give you a feeling of peace, satisfaction, and contentment?    (spiritual)

 

Do your relationships with others bring you joy and a sense of purposefulness?   (relational)

 

How does physical contentment play into the emotional contentment?   (Physical, emotional)

 

How much is enough of financial resources to feel “contentment”?  Is contentment related to a sense of safety?  

 

Do we trust God with finances, health, relationships and can we be content with how things are in those ways?

 

 

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