Monday, June 06, 2016
If you are a regular on the social media site Facebook, then you probably have taken one of those what kind of person are you quizzes. You know what kind of friend are you? What kind of parent are you? What kind of movie star would you be? Ok, all I have proven at the moment, is I spend too much time on Facebook. During my volunteer shift, in effort to aid clients emotionally, and spiritually as well as practically, I am encouraged to inquire about their spiritual background, or preferences. I realize what a privilege this is, and how personal that is, and so I approach the subject respectfully for the sacred ground I tend upon. I truly do desire to serve the whole person. For example, if someone states I am a Christian, I say what that means to you, because being a Christian means different things depending upon a person's own definition. I have recently asked not out loud, but over the course of a year or so, what kind of Christian am I?
I wish I could tell you I'm one of those Christians that every time someone asks me how I am doing, that my response is "better than I deserve" because while that statement is of course true, It isn't me, it isn't how God wired me. If God has wired you that way you are blessed with a depth of spiritual maturity I don’t have yet. You have nothing to be ashamed of and I'm inspired by you. For the rest of us who haven't yet made to where you are standing, please be patient with us who openly acknowledge our doubts and questions before the great God of the universe. I have a false perception and expectation of what contentment actually is. My mentor challenged me to redefine what being content means for me. What did it mean for Jesus, Paul, Joseph Peter, and others? .Well let's start with Jesus. Hebrews 12 2 says fix our eyes on Jesus for the joy set before Him despised the same and endured the cross. Elsewhere in scripture tells us in the Gospel accounts that Jesus desperately wanted to be spared from the cross. It was for the joy ahead of him that enabled Him to endure the agony of the cross. It was not that he loved being in pain, or pretended that He enjoyed the ordeal. He offered himself based upon the future outcome and result that would take place, salvation. It isn't that he was content with the immediate circumstances, but He was content in the rend result... He was content IN this, not with this. The same with Paul I'm sure He did not enjoy jail and isolation or humiliation. He still chose to view his life and his loses through the lens of Gods eternal and present promises. It is possible then, to be discontent with a circumstance itself, and still be content in Christ. . 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.' Phil. 4:11-13.
The world says we are entitled to instant gratification. We become disillusioned with ourselves and God, when we experience road blocks, losses or even less than favorable events in our lives. All as result of not understanding Christ has not promised a joy ride, of gratification, but a lasting journey which offers contentment in, not from our circumstances. This is what enables a mom at her breaking point, not to throw in the town on guiding her sassy teenager. She understands that while she may not, be content with their behavior, she marches on, because she is content knowing and that one day her investment will pay off even if it simply means knowing she did her best. What if contentment means choosing to respect your boss, even if you don't agree? What if it means mourning that outcome, but staying faithful in prayer anyway? What if it means being gracious, and thankful when life does not go, as planned or the bill is more than you were prepared to pay? I don't know about you, but redefining contentment this way, takes a lot of pressure off. There is a difference between complaining, and simply acknowledging that while life isn't a fairyland. There is a sure foundation. What kind of Christian am I? I am the kind that is learning and growing imperfectly in contentment found outside of external surroundings, within the unchanging faithfulness of the Christ. How do you define being content? Like me, do you need to reexamine your definition of contentment personally despite what society throws at you? Don't miss your sunsets, because of the clouds.