It seems as though the busier we are, the less content we tend to be. So many of us spend our days rushing to work, to school, to church, and to a myriad of other commitments. We tend to live with a mentality that says if we can only get x, y, and z accomplished then we will be content, then we can rest in Jesus.
The truth is, this will never work. Our culture is constantly telling us we need more and we need to do more. We can never keep up, even with all the money and resources at our disposal.
In an article for The Gospel Coalition titled "Contentment in a Discontented World," blogger Jason Helopoulos writes this: “Contentment is a slippery thing. As soon as we think we are content it wiggles away, due to something we see on television, some stray thought, or a small comment another person makes. Is contentment even possible?”
As Christians, we’ve likely been encouraged to find our contentment in Christ; this is something we want to do but at times it likely feels impossible.
Helopoulos takes us back to Scripture, and particularly to Philippians where the Apostle Paul writes:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, 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 all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul was holding tightly to the promise that Jesus really is sufficient for all our needs.
“Too many yank this verse out of context. Rather, Paul is asserting that in all circumstances he can be content in Christ who strengthens him. This is the secret! It is not ignoring circumstances, it is not rising above them, and it is not resigning one’s self to them—it is rather living in them in Christ,” writes Helopoulos.
Sometimes, in order to refocus on the truth that enduring contentment is found only in Christ, we need to make time to rest in Him and heed his call in Matthew 11 when He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (28-30).
Christian author Jim Denison provides five helpful action steps for finding rest in Christ and realigning our priorities in order to discover true contentment:
“So, how do we rest in Christ?
1. Make time every morning to be alone with Jesus in his worship and word.
2. Make time through the day to reconnect with him.
3. Make time at the end of the day for confession and thanksgiving.
4. Make a Sabbath, a day each week during which you rest from work and focus on worship and quiet.
5. Make occasional extended times to be alone with your Lord.
The coming weekend is a good time to find time for your soul. The less you have time for a Sabbath, the more you need one.”
Although we may feel like there are things that we need outside of Christ, Helopoulos reminds us that, ultimately, all desires we have come back to what we can find in Jesus.
“Name it Christian and you have it in Christ. Whatever it is you desire; the answer is found in Christ. The boat you long for, what is it but a desire for freedom and rest? Which is ultimately found in Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 8:2). That promotion? At its root, it is simply security and respect (Psalm 62:6-8). Ultimately, these are found in Christ. Friendship? What a friend we have in Jesus, one who never abandons or forsakes,” and the list goes on.
May this inspire us to look to Jesus this week for our contentment.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash.com
Publication date: February 17, 2017
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com