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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Contentment is NOT a Spiritual Gift

If you're tired of me talking about contentment, get used to it, because this bee in my bonnet does not seem to go away. I do not do well with whiney people, be they kids or adults. If you want to annoy me and stir up my own discontent, just let your discontent overflow to me. The challenge for me comes in those cases to not allow others' joylessness to steal my joy.

Some seem to side-step this topic because, well, it just isn't their strong suit. I mean, can't I just use the cop-out, 'It's not my gift,' and go on my merry way, pursuing more and more and distracting myself from deeper soul issues with the search for the next thing - that thing being not only material possessions, but other pursuits as well: education, health, organic anything/everything, creative money-saving endeavours (though time-consuming)...

I believe if I sat at a proverbial Lemonade Stand that said, 'Contentment for sale!' I'd have NO customers. I wonder if people really want to be content. It is the thing everyone seems to be looking for but no-one really wants to find.

It is not a spiritual gift because it is LEARNED. And Paul (the Apostle, that is) referred to it as a SECRET. I heard there was a very popular book out a while back titled something like 'The Secret' - well, I never looked at it, because I know the SECRET. You will find it in Philippians 4:13. And don't look it up without reading the whole context. People use that verse to talk about how they can conquer battles, struggles, problems they face. But the point of it is really 'I CAN be content, and I can LEARN to be content, no matter what situation I face.' American culture seems to be all for us conquering everything - we like to be powerful and dominating and controlling of everything in our lives. People 'battle' cancer, but 'come down with' a cold. Contentment is actually something within our own power to control, if we allow God to help us. It is not a gift, it is a discipline.

And it should be a JOYFUL discipline.

Now, I am not one to talk about discipline about anything. It is my perpetual achilles heel of life - the 'D' word strikes terror into my self-indulgent little heart.

But, as I learn DISCIPLINE, perhaps I can learn contentment on the journey, because the secret of contentment is the source of my strength: 'I can do ALL things through Christ Who gives me strength.' In context then, 'I can BE CONTENT in ALL things, through Christ, Who enables me to be strong in the face of difficulty.' That is my loose, un-Greeked, translation.

Thus endeth the lesson.

2 comments:

  1. I also like I Tim. 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain". (I like through verse 12!) Yes, without discipline we can not, nor will we ever be, content. Godliness comes with being content, so remember that when you are challenged in this area!(Me too) Blessings from Bama!

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    1. I like these thoughts - you're right godliness and contentment DO go together. Whenever I'm discontent I should just say to myself - 'you're not being godly!'

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