Christian Devotionals

"I CAN Get Satisfaction"

12I 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.
13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:12-13 - New International Version)

During the course of the day, I have been doing a lot of meditating on this Bible passage. In fact, this whole “contentment thing” keeps coming up and I suspect that God is not content with my contentedness. As usual, He’s right, I do need another lesson in contentment. Yet true to His perfect ways, He keeps sending this lesson my way until I finally get it. What a patient and persevering Teacher Jesus is.

Many of us are familiar with another contentment verse in the Bible:

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
(1 Timothy 6:6-7)

Reading further down in that passage, we’re warned that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (v 10). Although the love of money used to be my biggest weakness and it still raises its ugly head from time to time, my latest source of discontentment concerns my life in general. For the record, I have always lived life looking behind or looking ahead. Seldom have I been content with my present circumstances or the place where God has put me. As I mentioned in previous devotionals, God used cancer to snap me out of this ungrateful pattern. I learned to be grateful for each new day of life and treasured my relationships, especially my relationship with Jesus. No, I haven’t done a 180 and marched back into the land of discontent, but I have been skirting its borders. Now that I’m feeling better and ready to go, I’m also feeling very restless and yes, bored senseless. I’m eager to get out there and do “stuff” for Jesus – you know, come roaring back into ministry with both guns blazing. But is this gung-ho attitude of mine really motivated by my love for Jesus or by my need for fulfillment and the praise of men?

I now find myself longing for the days when people came to me in business for help or advice. I recall the thrill of signing up a big new account and coming back to headquarters with my trophy purchase order. I also watch past ministry performances on DVD and long to hear my audience’s laughter and applause. Then I look around and take inventory of what now constitutes my typical day: Thankless chores, endless errands and home based ministry of questionable value.

Then, just as I’m becoming prideful and discontent, God speaks to me through the “contentment” Bible passages and through Oswald Chambers’ book “My Utmost For His Highest.”  Chambers references the King James translation of Philippians 4 and he asks if we are ready to be abased - humbled, lowered in our daily service – as was the apostle Paul. Do we need to be regarded as a hero in our service to Christ or are we willing to become a doormat under people’s feet – a mere drop in the bucket? God is trying to tell me that I will need to contently serve Him where He’s placed me and that I will remain here until the timing is right. More importantly, I’m not going anywhere until my attitude is right with Him. 
Christian writer and author of America’s first dictionary - Noah Webster - has this 1828 definition for the word content:
“Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.”

Webster also includes our 1 Timothy 6 verse with his definition:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

This is a lesson that God is teaching me during this current lull period in my life. For all of us learning this lesson, Paul clearly reveals the secret to being content in every situation: total reliance on the Holy Spirit and the power of the risen Christ.

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