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Learning the Secret of Contentment

Greetings All,

     This week's 'thought' comes to you from a daily devotional I've been using called, "Once a Day Devotional {Walk with Jesus}."  There is no stated author, but three editors -- Mickey Hodges, John Hoover and Paula Kirk.  If you are looking for a good solid devotional, this one fits the bill.
     Today's selection is actually the one that's dated from yesterday morning -- August 26 -- and it's entitled: "Learning the Secret of Contentment."
     Contentment is a hard inner state of mind and soul to either attain or maintain in a culture like ours, where every message that comes at us from the advertising industry tells us that what we have is insufficient, and what we need (if we want a better, happier quality of life) is what they are selling.
     All we need do is flick on the TV, or read a magazine, to be told we all need to be thinner, stronger, happier, have a better self-esteem, have fuller hair (or for balding men, more hair), whiter teeth, more stylish clothes, bigger houses,  better cars, healthier bodies, sexier bodies, drugs for gaining more sexual stamina and more energy, condiments for tastier food, faster iDevices, and the thrill of saving more money if we shop for everything at ___  ____.  And on and on it goes ad infinitum (or I should say, ad nauseum)!
     Contentment is one of the things we crave the most, but one of the last things our culture would ever really want us to experience. (It would kill the economy and the propaganda industry we call advertising.)
     Yet both attaining and maintaining contentment is possible, even in such an environment, and in today's thought A. W. Pink tells us how. His advice is well worth heeding. Enjoy!

Learning the Secret of Contentment
     "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."  Philippians 4:11
     "Contentment. It's rare in a world in which people are searching for more money, more power, more status. But God has a different perspective: 'Better a little with the fear of the LORD, than great wealth with turmoil' (Proverbs 15:16).
     It's a viewpoint shared by Paul in Philippians 4.  And as A. W. Pink observes, once you know God, you have more than the world could ever give.

Walk with A. W. Pink
     "Contentment is the product of a heart resting in God. It is the soul's enjoyment of the peace that passes all understanding.  Contentment is the outcome of my will being brought into subjection to the divine will. It is the blessed assurance that God does all things well, and is even now making all things work together for my ultimate good.
     Contentment is only possible as we maintain the attitude of accepting everything that enters our lives as coming from the hand of him who is too wise to err and too loving to cause one of his children a needless tear.
     Our final word is this: Real contentment is only possible by being in the presence of the Lord Jesus. Only by cultivating intimacy with the One who was never discontent, only by daily fellowship with him who always delighted in the Father's will, will we learn the secret of contentment."
Walk Closer to God
     Paul had ample reason to complain about his circumstances: hostile audiences, misunderstood motives, physical abuse. Instead, he chose to 'rejoice in the Lord' (Philippians 4:10). His life radiated the very words he wrote to the Philippians: 'Whatever is true...noble...right... pure... lovely... admirable... excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things and the God of peace will be with you' (Phil. 4:8).
     Like Paul, don't be content to settle for less than God's best.  And that 'best' includes the contentment found only in him!"
     Nancy (my wife, for those of you who do not know!) once had a poster hanging on the wall of our house that said, "Joy is not in having what you want, but in wanting what you have." That is also one of the "secrets" of contentment -- really appreciating and wanting what you already have.
     Although, if you lack Jesus, even that isn't enough to bring the inner sense of contentment of which Paul speaks. In fact, neither is the advice of Philippians 4:8, advice, which being written to Christians, already presupposes they have come to be joined to Him -- the only true giver of contentment -- by faith. A. W. Pink was right: "Real contentment is only possible by being in the presence of the Lord Jesus."
     With earnest prayers that we will see Jesus, not as the means through which we get other things, but as the gift that surpasses all that we could want...  Pastor Jeff