Contentment

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Alive and Active Life
Contentment
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Have you noticed a lot of unrest all over the world recently? It’s sobering. And it affects people. Even folks who feel pretty stable are wondering – “What is going on these days?” There’s a complete lack of contentment, and people want to know how to respond to all this unrest. In a world of upheaval, what hope is there to regain a life of contentment?

Jesus gives really great advice about contentment, and I think it’s super relevant right now.

What Is Contentment?

I discovered the most interesting fact recently as I was reading my Bible. Several passages mention “sound words” or “sound doctrine.” I don’t know how I missed it all these years, but there is a footnote on some of those. I checked out a foot note for the word “sound.” Get this. It said, “healthy!” That’s right – HEALTHY! I love that definition of sound. I’ve been writing about healthy living for years, based on Scripture, to have an Alive and Active Life! And there it was – in my Bible right in front of me.

At the very top of living a healthy life – is contentment, particularly when the world is unraveling.

The dictionary says contentment means “the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.” (dictionary.com) That means unrest is absent. Peace is present. Worry gets the back seat. No matter what the scenario – you’re good to go!

Contentment is being healthy.

The Contentment Scale

If you were to measure your level of contentment today, where on the scale would you be? Let’s suggest a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being not content at all and 10 being utterly content. I would guess most people would measure somewhere in the middle. Being content when life keeps shifting and throwing issues at you is challenging to manage.

So, are you living in contentment? Where do you land on the 1-10 contentment scale?

Most people swing a bit when it comes to contentment. Yet, Scripture indicates contentment is critical for holistic health – and it’s available for everyone. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Tim. 6: 6) It appears a person can find a “sweet spot” on the contentment scale, even with some fluctuations. Have you found your sweet spot?

Peace and joy from a content heart are like medicine, a good cup of coffee, or a cold glass of milk. Living in contentment can be your norm.

So, what perspectives do you need to change to gain contentment?  What action steps are you taking?

Four Questions That Can Change You

Did you notice? There are four questions posed so far. In case you missed them, here they are again:

  1. Are you living in contentment?
  2. Where are you on the 1-10 contentment scale?
  3. What perspectives do you need to change to gain contentment?
  4. What action steps are you taking?

 

So, how do you answer these four questions? Do you realize your answers can put you on a path of change in your contentment score? You can get closer to a 10!

Questions One and Two

For starters, let’s explore questions one and two. They help you assess where you are. It’s critical to identify where you are in order to move forward. So –

  1. Are you living in contentment? If you are, your score on the contentment scale is likely pretty good. If you are not living in contentment, why not? What is keeping you from being content? Is it the unrest all around you? Is it fear? Sorrow and loss? Long-term discouragement? Have you been deceived? Perhaps you are angry. You may think you don’t deserve contentment.
  2. Where are you on the 1-10 contentment scale? By your own assessment, where do you place yourself in contentment?

 

Jesus Gives Sound (Healthy) Teaching About Contentment

To get into what Jesus says about contentment, we’re going to look at question three from above.

3. What perspectives do you need to change to gain contentment?

Jesus’ teachings give perspective. If you practice His teachings, you can progress toward contentment even during times of upheaval. Jesus always starts with God’s Word. Even answering His own temptations, Jesus turned to Scripture. Do you turn to Scripture first?

Everyone who trusts God’s love and obeys His Word gets His help. Scripture changes you when you believe and obey it. Scripture says, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart so I will not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11) This is where you start to gain perspective. It’s a healthy choice toward contentment to hide God’s Word in your heart.

God’s promises literally let you “participate in the Divine Nature.” (2 Pet. 1:4) That means you can live inside the Source of contentment. Whether your life issues are tidy or not, finished or not, comfortable or not – you can be at peace – content. No matter where you are on the 1-10 scale, participating in the Divine Nature means participating in God’s very heart and nature. And – He invites you into relationship AND contentment.

Action Steps Into Contentment

Contentment is available to everyone. But to enjoy this state of living requires willingness to do some things.

Willing To Receive Instruction And Help

The Psalmist says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105) “Your rod and staff comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4) He is welcoming God’s correction, direction, character, and protection. He is choosing healthy action steps to participate in contentment. In fact, he invites it. In Ps. 139:24, the psalmist gives this incredible open-ended invitation to God. “Point out anything You find in me that makes You sad.” Why not have a healthy heart? Welcome and invite God’s instruction and help.

 

 

Willing To Believe God’s Word

A person who refuses to look at help available through God’s Word is “. . . conceited and understands nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth . . .” (1 Tim. 6:4-5. God’s words, not mine!)

Oh dear! Not healthy. Not sound. But it sure describes the unrest we observe around the world today.

You can’t go wrong making choices to believe Scripture. Why not set yourself up for contentment? Believe everything God teaches you. Submit to His training. Invite it. This makes your mind healthy.

 

Willing To Claim and Obey Scripture

Scripture promises “everything needed for life and godliness.” (2 Pet. 1:3) What else is there?

So, if you hide God’s Word in your heart and match your life with it by obeying, you gain peace, joy, and contentment.

Meditating on God’s Word day and night (Ps. 1) is a powerful action step. Jas. 1:22 gives another action step that nurtures a healthy spirit inside you. “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourself. Do what it says.”

The more you claim and obey God’s Word, the more content you become. And the more seasoned, stable, and peaceful.

 

What About Question Four?

Everything we’ve looked at won’t make a difference in your life unless you answer question four. And you need to answer with practical application in your daily life.

4. What action steps are you taking?

If you are going to be healthy and get a better score on the contentment scale, there are three deliberate choices you will need to make.

1. Align Your Heart

Align your heart with God. Agree with Him about everything in life. You will need to surrender your life to Jesus, your preferences, your wishes and dreams – all of it. This is a step into being healthy in your heart.

2. Partner With Him

Partner with Him. Practice Jesus’ teachings. Instead of your own logic and thinking, choose to think God’s thoughts. Is. 55:9 says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Instead of doing what you think, ask God what He thinks you should do. This is a step into a healthy mind and behaviors.

3. Ask God To Transform You

Align your heart with God. Partner with Him by believing and obeying. But only God can transform you. So, ask Him to do just that!  He won’t force change if you don’t practice His ways. So, it’s really you preventing change in you. That’s not healthy.

Radical Resolve

In the Old Testament, Job said he would trust God even if God killed him. (Job 13:15) That’s radical resolve. He carried out action steps that align with God’s principles no matter what the outcome. Yet, Job suffered many unexplainable losses. Still, he chose to be healthy (sound). He had radical resolve.

Even with all his questions, Job was content. Do you have radical resolve?

Application Questions And Thoughts

How did you answer the four questions for yourself?

  1. Are you living in contentment?
  2. Where are you on the 1-10 contentment scale?
  3. What perspectives do you need to change to gain contentment?
  4. What action steps are you taking?

 

A couple more questions:

  • Are you willing to receive instruction and help from God?
  • Are you willing to believe God’s Word (and match your life with it)?
  • How is your willingness to claim and obey Scripture?

 

Get closer to a 10 on the contentment scale. Make three choices:

    1. Align your heart with God.
    2. Partner with God.
    3. Ask God to transform you.

Why not live in contentment?

 

* Material for this article is developed from 1 Timothy 6:1-10 as laid out in my book More E-pistles For An i-Generation.

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