Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Contentment and Disappointment

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

I can be content through Christ who strengthens me! Scriptures tell us in Philippians 4 what a great thing it is to be content but most of the way churches and preachers try to motivate is by discontentment. "You're not doing enough. You need to get out of your comfort zone. You should never be satisfied with your walk in God." God doesn't want you to be discontent. He wants you to be satisfied with Him and to rest in Him. The secret of contentment is Christ's strength working through you!

"I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)
"Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content." (1 Timothy 6:8)
"Be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere men do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
"Already you are satisfied! You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle!" (1 Corinthians 4:8)

When God doesn't do what we expect we need to voice our disappointments to Him. If we don't we are going to put up a barrier between us and God. That barrier is us not caring to listen to Him because He let us down by not giving us what we wanted when we wanted it.

When God disappoints our desires we distance ourselves from Him and we "take back control" of our lives without going to Him for input. The reality is that we never actually yielded control to God because we were set on using God to get our desires met in our time frame instead of trying to follow God's desires for us in His timing. God's desires for us are better than our desires for ourselves. His timing is better for us than ours also. He loves us more than we love ourselves. While it may not be as easy and comfortable as what we want God knows what is best for us and when it is best for us.

Disappointments happen when your appointments fail. Disappointment is defined as "the state of being depressed or discouraged by the failure of one's hopes or expectations." When you don't get what you want you are disappointed. When you expect a gift at Christmas and don't get it you are disappointed. We treat God like Christmas morning. We expect things of Him and if we don't get what we want we are disappointed and sometimes like children we throw a fit. "It is Christmas day! You have to give me what I want today! Now is the time!"

But gifts are better when they are a surprise. You appreciate them more at a day and time when you don't expect them. God has already given us much much more than any of us realize. And God is always giving to us. His love is self-giving. His Spirit is a breath that only breathes out. God will give us freedom we never dreamed of and things we never knew we wanted.

I'm a participant in the gifts of God today. God doesn't give me on any given day everything I want the way I want it. We can be like the child who doesn't get the one present he wants most so he is ungrateful and doesn't enjoy the many presents he did get. When my focus is on what I want instead of what God is giving me I will be frustrated.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:31, "What I'm trying to get you to do is to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving."
There is a great change in the heart of a person when they no longer have the fruitless tension of trying to get. Instead they have the relaxed sense of "I'm going to participate today in what God gives me, so God what are you giving me today?" That changes the whole nature of the relationship from anxiety and pressure and manipulation to "I'm really buddied up with Papa and my God has the best ideas about everything. So I'm not convincing Him to do things my way. I'm looking for the way He is doing things and joining in them." It is good to discover an attitude that says, "How do I live in the gifts of God instead of the need of myself?"

Romans 8:32 says, "God who didn't spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with Christ freely give us all things?"
God gave us the ultimate treasure of the universe, Jesus, so is there anything greater than Jesus that God has got for me? How do I come to the awareness of the value of what He has given?

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