Seven Keys to Contentment
"I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."
-Philippians 4:11, emphasis added
Contentment is a byproduct of following the Shepherd. It is experiencing the inner-peace that only He can provide. It is knowing that He will promote you at the right time. Contentment is the sense of satisfaction that comes to a husband and wife as they emulate the provision and care of the Shepherd to their own children. Contentment comes from serving Christ instead of money, and from providing not only financially for your family, but also emotionally, morally, and spiritually.
How can such contentment be cultivated in our life? First Timothy 6:6-17 describes seven principles that promote contentment.
Principle 1-Remember that things are only temporary: "Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and . . . we can carry nothing out" (1 Timothy 6:6-7). You cannot take it with you. There are no U-Haul trailers behind hearses.
Principle 2-Only seek necessities, and wait for the rest: "Having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (1Timothy 6:8). We need shelter and the basic provisions of life, but everything beyond that is simply a great blessing. Whether it comes or goes is okay. God has said that all we are supposed to expect in life is food and clothing, so we should be happy with that.
Principle 3-Avoid a consuming desire for prosperity: "Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and . . . many foolish and harmful lusts. . . . For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith . . . and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
America has been fed a prosperity diet. You might say, "That is not me-I am not rich." If you own a car, you are rich. Ninety-five percent of the people in the world can't afford a car. Your watch and the clothes you have on are worth more than what hundreds of millions of people on earth have. Tens of thousands even starve to death around the world each year, but Americans regularly throw away super-sized leftovers.
Principle 4-Flee materialism: "Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11). Do you seek to accumulate possessions-or to grow in Christlikeness? Value what will count for eternity!
Principle 5-Cling to eternal life: "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called. . . . Keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing" (1Timothy 6:12-14). We need a whole generation of people who are holding tighter to eternal life than they are to this world.
If we're not careful, before long our possessions can possess us. They then become an anchor that holds us back. The care of riches clouds our mind from seeking the purity of Christ.
Choose to live for what is eternal. Be content--willingly surrender all that you are and have to the Lord. Then faithfully fight the good fight of faith by laying hold on the eternal life to which you were also called.
To read the last two principles of contentment, please click here.
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