Contentment: Great Gift, Great Gain
Philippians 4:9,11. (Amplified Classic) “Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you… for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.”
1 Timothy 6:6. (Paul admonishes to avoid those promoting religion as a money making business, or as a means of livelihood, as he compares it to the true spiritual riches.) “[And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.”
At the outset of this contemplation, it’s important to realize that this “sense of inward sufficiency” is only found as a living, abiding knowledge of Christ in me and I in Christ. It is a gift to be cultivated. As we consider and learn from Paul’s story and example, this is good anywhere, anytime - regardless of circumstances.
As I sat down to write this, an “odd hack” occurred during a text message I was having with one other person. Ascertaining from this surprising intrusive interruption of the run on sentences, poor grammar, lack of punctuation, and the content of the long paragraph, what I could piece together was that the sender was an immigrant. He worked his way up from nothing, had successfully operated several thrift stores, only to have the rug pulled out from under him by the current mishandling of the cv19 situation. He claimed he had now joined the US Air Force and seemed angry and understandably disappointed about the folding of the “American Dream” as he saw it.
How odd that this should show up at this moment, when in the middle of a Scriptural meditation on contentment! I had the impression that this subject needed to be prayed about, considered. Coincidence? What are the odds?
St. Paul is reminding us that true contentment in Christ has nothing to do with circumstances. (Sure. Right. You have to be kidding.) But it’s something we need to embrace as Christians if we’re to have spiritual victory in the days ahead.
Here’s the reality of it. The American Dream is actually an illusion, a vapor, having to do with the acquisition of contentment based upon a philosophy of the pursuit of happiness, having to do with the attainment of success, or the things of this world of which we dream, or to which we are led to believe we are entitled.
This is by no means any pitch for any form of fascism; let me be clear! However, this world’s ideas do not come from Scripture, nor are they “rights” given to fallen rebels by their Creator. Let’s get this straight. It’s very popular thought with secularists and Christians alike, but it is a vapor. The American Dream is not the reality called the Kingdom of Heaven, proclaimed by Jesus and throughout Scripture. In fact it can be an obstacle to it, an idol, a mountain to be removed.
Christ has eternal dreams for us in the heavenly places. If there’s any sort of purpose driven life, it is about the eternal, not the temporal which is always passing away. It’s God’s purpose for which we’re created and redeemed and called and set apart.
As we also know, nothing lasts forever. Could this mean that the American Dream is winding down? Have the “bad guys” taken it away, or has God used them to dismantle the significant idolatry that it has come to be? Ideas and ideologies can become idols!
Might our Lord actually be in the process of destroying every idol and image held by men and venerated by them that supplants the worship of Him Who is sovereign, not only in State but Church as well? This includes ungodly alliances where churches become reliant on that secular system to continue to support them. This is thin ice. Many are walking on that instead of walking with the One Who walks on water!
Check the Scriptures and history. God frequently uses “Babylon’s Bad Boys” to do this. This time I suspect it will be the Technocrats. They have utter contempt for religion. (They cannot, however, destroy the Christ contentment in hearts where the Holy Three have taken up Their residence! This is a reality and a relationship which is indestructible, because it is God given.)
Technocrats also despise politicians, regarding them as inferior to themselves as everyone else. They will easily at some point cast aside all these “useful idiots” (their words, not mine) as they achieve their goals. Everyone from Popes to Presidents will be in that number. They will set themselves up as gods in their own image. By way of techno-pharmaceuticals (now pitched by Popes and Presidents alike) they are seizing free rein (reign?) in an all out assault on Humanity, the pinnacle of God’s created order, as they likewise despise or Creator or any devotion to Him.
We need to see this for what it is.
It is against this backdrop that we are being given every opportunity to cultivate contentment in spite of circumstances, in surrender of our will to God, as we are called to follow the One Who has nowhere to lay His head. We should devote ourselves to prayer and His Word, to heed it in each day’s challenges, and to always seek His forgiveness which restores and heals us when we fail.
We might be tempted to think that when the adversity stops, then God appears. We must not be deceived by that approach, for He is right here right now, in the midst of adversity! Let’s not miss Him! He often hides Himself in the oddest places - stables and mangers, asleep in a boat during a tempest, or on a cross.
We cannot “try” to have this contentment with godliness, for it only comes when we become aware and comprehend that our “real circumstance” is in Christ and that Christ is in me. It is a shift of awareness of faith which is receptive, not a striving after or trying harder. In that it is somewhat of a matter of relinquishing our own natural desire to Him to control. Then trust!
When He says, “Follow Me,” He means for us to come away from the world (not exteriorly, because we’re always in the world in body, but internally in the heart). Detach from its thought and ways of doing things. He calls to us, “Come away from the world and all of its ideas about a temporal happiness which always passes away. Why do you seek after what you know always disappears? Because you seek after things that pass away, your heart is turned from Me. So you are hurt and disappointed and discontented. I am the only One Who can lead you to true contentment that will never pass away - because I would not have you set your sites on folly and frivolous and temporary things, which weaken and deceive you.”
When the cv19 craziness started, it seemed obvious that cv19 was a false flag and would be used against Humanity. It would be blamed - and used - for what the Techno Wizards were orchestrating, since they well understand that most people are still blissfully unaware how things work. Or the incomprehensible evil that orchestrates so much of it. Lockdowns and shut downs of what they regard as nonessential are still in place to one degree or another. They are hurting many people drastically. The ones who will suffer the most are those who do not have the “spiritual skill set” to be godly and content in all circumstances. Hence the escalating suicide rate, domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction, and other related crimes and disorders.
Only Christ can open the eyes of faith to true contentment. Because of the intensity, volume, and constant fluctuation of circumstances and propaganda, all experience to some degree pockets of deep frustration and emotional upset. Yet as this process goes on, somehow I find myself growing quieter within, to the degree where I have thought, “This sense of wellbeing and contentment is not natural. I should be upset like everyone else. See how upset everyone else is? That’s how I should be too.” But, no! This kind of peace - that passes all natural comprehension - ought to be the Christian New Normal!
It is a supernatural gift to be content while in the chaotic world but not of it. This is an attitude that needs to be cultivated as we surrender to what is. We should also ask, seek, and knock for our Lord to be that within us, to reveal Himself, to keep us steadfast in His Word, to show us the Way. The Way where there may be no “green grass” on the other side of the fence, a time of escalating no win scenarios - as far as the world is concerned.
And here is the fertilizer where grow the trees of righteousness, the planting to the Lord!
It is an exercise in futility to wring my hands and give way to unhappiness, wishful thinking, run in circles in anxiety fits, nor even grieve the demise of this passing illusion called the American Dream. It doesn’t even exist once a person understands that we can take it quite literally that the Bible teaches that - if we belong to Christ - we’re crucified, dead, resurrected, and seated in Christ in the Heavenly Places! Dead to world’s philosophies and dreams.
This does not mean giving a nod to any level of fascism either, but we have to look at all things from a divine, Biblical perspective: What is God doing in and with us in the midst of times like these? How then are we to respond?
If I am dead to this world and alive to God in Christ, does it matter where He and I are together? This ought to be the natural realization and experience of Christianity. I am in Christ and He is in me. That is my status and location, even while here on Earth - regardless of what any Potentate, President, Pope, or Governor has in mind. And this is an indestructible fortress!!!
I find myself less enthused about any form of news - real or fake, except the Good News of Jesus Christ, Who has purchased and won me from sin and death, the devil, and the world which is passing away with all its cheap charms and charades. All of that is destined by our Sovereign Lord for destruction - to be replaced by a new Heaven and a New Earth in which righteousness, peace, and joy reign throughout all eternity - ruled by the Prince of Peace, God Who is love.
This is meant as encouragement - to any who are thus minded - to cultivate contentment right here right now, as Paul did. He is the Apostle who teaches us well by his example. This is where we find the One, the Fullness of the Godhead - omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent - Who promises always “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). “It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit—depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Cultivate contentment. Paul said, “I have learned… to be content…”
Your promises are true, my Lord and my God, in Christ Jesus. You are always faithful to Your Word, and so may I receive it and every good gift You have for me, in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Help me to comprehend this by renewal of my mind in Christ Jesus. Awaken me to godliness with contentment, the greatest of gain, that I may rejoice always, pray constantly, an give thanks in all circumstances, singing and making melody continually with heart, voice, and life! All thanks and praise be to You, Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
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