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Girlfriends in God - Apr. 13, 2010

April 13, 2010 

Under New Management 

Mary Southerland

Today‘s Truth 
Philippians 4:9-13 (NIV) "For 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."

Friend To Friend 
The story is told of a farmer who lived on the same farm all of his life. It was a good farm but with the passing years, the farmer began to tire of it and long for something better. Every day, he found something else wrong with the farm and finally decided to sell. He hired a realtor who made up a sales flier, emphasizing the good points of the farm including an ideal location, modern equipment and healthy stock on acres of fertile ground. Before she ran the ad, she called the farmer and read it to him for his approval. The farmer listened carefully as she read and when she finished he cried out, "Hold everything!  I have changed my mind. I am not going to sell.  I have been looking for a place like that all of my life!" 

Like the farmer, you and I are constantly looking for something "better." Deep in our heart, we long for something more. As followers of Jesus Christ, we should be living illustrations of peace and contentment but we often struggle to do so. What is the secret of contentment?

To find the secret of contentment we turn to the life of Paul, a disciple of Christ who had every reason to be discontented. He wrote the book of Philippians from prison where he was awaiting trial and possible execution. He was all alone, facing great persecution as a believer. Paul was no stranger to persecution; he had been beaten, stoned, shipwrecked and ridiculed because of His vocal faith in God. As he approached the end of his life, his health was bad and he was almost blind. Yet, through the darkness of his pain, he joyfully exclaimed, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."  Paul's perspective is amazing and worthy of scrutiny.

The first step toward a contented life is to choose obedience. Paul tells us in verse nine that in order to experience peace and contentment we must "put into practice" the precepts of God.  When one company takes over another company there is sometimes a sign displayed that reads, "Under New Management."  When we invite Christ to take over our life, we place ourselves under new management - the management of Jesus Christ.  He then directs our life from a heart of love - if we allow Him to.  When God takes over, He puts into place His Word and His plan for our life. Paul assures us that it is the best plan - the highest plan and the only plan that will produce a contented life.

Our choice to obey that plan will guarantee contentment because when we choose obedience, we are stepping under the umbrella of God's protection. The success of the plan depends upon Him and our obedience sets Him free to work, encouraging peace in our heart and bringing the contentment we seek. 

Disobedience is the enemy of contentment. Contentment and disobedience cannot exist together in the same heart. Vance Havner says, "You cannot break the laws of God---you break yourself against them." It is not enough to know the truth. Jesus is not pleased with or impressed by how much we know. He is pleased with how much we do. Choose to obey God and you will find contentment.

Let's Pray 
Lord, I long to know You more and experience the contentment that only an intimate relationship with You can bring.  Thank You for loving me and for choosing me to be Your own.  I now place myself under Your management and control.

In Jesus' name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
Take some time to look back over your life, recognizing that His plan for you is the only one that will satisfy your soul and bring you contentment. Choose to follow that plan, seeking Him every step of the way. Start by asking the following questions:

What are the areas of discontentment in my life?

What are the areas of disobedience in my life?

What hindrances need to be removed in order for me to be obedient to God?

What do I already know to be part of His plan for me?

What steps must I take in order to follow that plan?

More From The Girlfriends 
Notice that Paul said he had "learned" to be content. Paul made the consistent choice to find contentment in Jesus Christ. He trained his heart and mind to seek God and in doing so, found peace and contentment. If Paul can learn to be contented, so can we.

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