Sharing by: Pam Crawford
1 Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
What a frustrating chain of events! Although I hesitate to think that things could get worse, I have lived long enough to know better. It is in times such as these that I am reminded of the importance of Biblical contentment. The Apostle Paul was an example of someone who learned to become content in whatever he was up against. As I have studied his life, I have discovered a man who learned to trust God in all circumstances. As he took time to know God, he uncovered His character and the many promises which belong to God’s children. This led to an overwhelming confidence in who God was and what He alone could do. From this knowledge Paul did something that many of us miss. Paul broke free from allowing his circumstances to rule his heart.
The Apostle Paul had a heart for God’s people. In his letters to the Philippians, which was written while he was being imprisoned for his faith, Paul attempted to teach them how to have joy in suffering, serving, believing, and giving. He expressed to them over and over again throughout his writings that this is accomplished by having the right focus. Like some of the Philippians and maybe even some of you, it is not always my natural reaction to shift my focus onto Christ at the onset of a crisis. I have had to work at this with utter diligence, and in all honesty it has not always been easy. My natural tendency is often to dwell in the situation before taking it to prayer. Instead of getting on my knees at the first sign of trouble, I often put my own hands and feet in motion to come up with some sort of solution. Then there are those times when I simply waste valuable time sulking in the thing. The end result in doing things my way is usually the opposite of contentment. When I allow troubles to scare and overwhelm me, I usually end up with a real sense of defeat. I imagine I am not alone in this.
In an article titled Handling Difficult Circumstances, Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch ministries writes “fear and defeat cannot live long in a heart that trusts the Lord. I'm not saying you'll forget what you're going through, but you can choose to dwell on His provision and care instead. He is the Deliverer (2 Cor. 1:10). He is the Healer (Deut. 32:39). He is the Guide (Prov. 3:6). The believer who lays claim to divine promises discovers that God pushes back negative emotions. In their place, hope, confidence, and contentment take up residence (Phil. 4:11). You aren't going to be happy about a difficult situation, but you can be satisfied that God is in control and up to something good in the midst of trouble.”
One of my favorite Scriptures is found in the book of Psalms, chapter 91 verses 1-2. It says, “ He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” These words are helping me become accountable to what I claim I believe.
Life’s Application Commentary: 91:1-2
God is a shelter, a refuge when we are afraid. The writer’s faith in almighty God as protector would carry him through all the dangers and fears of life. This should be a picture of our trust – trading all our fears for faith in him, no matter how intense our fears. To do this we must “live” and “rest” with him. By entrusting ourselves to his protection and pledging our daily devotion to him, we will be kept safe.”
When we shift our focus onto Christ above our circumstances; we too can experience that true sense of peace and contentment that surpasses our understanding. Although our situation might not change and the pain might be tough to endure at times, I can assure you that you are not alone. The Bible says that God "has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all" (Ps. 103:19). He is in absolute control. We may not understand His reasons for permitting hardship or pain in our lives, but His plan is always for our good and His glory (Jeremiah. 29:11).
If you have invited Christ to be your Savior, your helper, your guide; then you have all you need to get through yet another day. If you have not yet taken the step of surrender, may I suggest that there is no better time than the present? It is my prayer to move towards spiritual maturity and live my life as less a victim and more of a victor. How about you?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of transformation found in the life of the Apostle Paul. It is our prayer to gain momentum as we seek to know You as, Savior and Sovereign LORD. Help us to reflect on the many positive things in our life. Help us to discard the negatives as they only seek to destroy us. Show us today how to become beautiful, effective servants for Your Kingdom. Grant us Your peace Lord that surpasses our understanding and empower us to fight as mighty warriors against the schemes of the evil one. We thank you for what you will do in our lives to strengthen us. And, we submit our prayers in Jesus Name.
“There is no victory to be had in dwelling on our hurts.”
– Dr. Stanley