- Religion and Philosophy
Contentment laughs at anxiety
While building a house for a certain customer, I gave the drywall contract to one of my church brothers, that hopefully, he would perform an excellent job of which he had often bragged. I was to be terribly disappointed.
Usually I am cautious about whom I hire as sub-contractors, for on the completion of the building project, that which is most necessary, is a satisfied customer. So my utmost desire is to have my customer at ease knowing that the builder is not only in his pocket to make a buck but that he is getting in excess of what he has paid for the project. Eventhough this may not appear to be a win / win situation, yet that is exactly what it is, because of the advertisement gained by the satisfied customer. The referral system developed though satisfied customer relations is most important to a business and becomes a source of contentment.
One can understand my distress when I found out that my brother in the assembly of the righteous would come to work at most times after 10: AM and leave before 2: PM and so what would normally take a week; hanging, taping sanding and painting, took over 3 weeks. And not only was I dissappointed with his time off but also his workmanship. So this required that I spend extra time on this particular project, nursing my brother which incurred additional cost giving rise to a spirit of discontentment in my customer.
Finally it was the day of inspection and I can still remember the agitated owner saying; “Unacceptable”, as he went over the whole house with a power flashlight, peering up and down the corners of every room and stating, “Unsatisfactory! Unsatisfactory!
I agreed with the customer not because he was right on every error but because my church brother lacked integrity in his job performance. He was not committed to me, the owner and was a bad representation of Christianity. This was the end of our working relations, and useless to say, I never received a referral from that building project..
The lack of commitment of the sub-contractor, gave rise to a negative dispatch that became fertile soil for dissention and discontentment.
Commitment is the birth place of excellence, for it says, “If at first I do not succeed, I will keep on trying until I do”. It speaks of him that swears to his own hurt and does not change (Ps.15:4). It speaks of dedication to fulfill an obligation. However in this case, the sub-contractor did not fulfill his contractual responsibilities which lead to discontentment on the job site.
But We See Jesus
The way to abort every negative dispatch brought on by discontent is to “see Jesus” The writer in the book of Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man”.
For us to really appreciate the place of contentment we must go through a “death experience”. We must cease to regard the kingdom of the flesh because that is the place of the carnal mind.
Paul says, “I die daily” (1Cor.15:31) or I suffer a daily death experience because of the things, the experiences I suffer for Christ. He is saying that his suffering each day is equal to the pain of death. Christians are supposed to be dead to the things of this world and alive to Christ, seeking first those things which are above or in the heavenly household of God.
We must set our affections on the things of God for only then will your attitude be imprinted with the character of Christ.
Such was the attitude of Smith Wigglesworth.It is said that Smith Wigglesworth refused to be content with anything less than all of the blessings of the Lord. Because of this insatiable hunger people who knew him will testify that he never read any other book besides the Bible. His thoughts concerning what he viewed as distractions were spelled out in this refrain;
“All of self, none of God.
Less of self, more of God
None of self, all of God”
Smith was contented to read only the holy writ and he was quite confident that it was one of the secret of God’s power upon his life. It was evident that Smith was one that was truly redeemed of the Lord.
It’s always amazing the way people can tell off on themselves by their attitudes, their disposition (character, temperament, nature), either they part of the devil’s syndicate or truly redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus the writer in Hebrews 2:9 is implying that when you are in doubt look at Jesus who was committed to his work, even more so than the things that benefited his flesh, for he stated plainly that, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (Jn.4:34). Jesus had his sights set on a finished work with contentment.
In other words Jesus was saying that I am at the place of contentment when I am doing the will of my Father. Jesus implied that He was filled with satisfaction for He knew that He pleased the Father who delights in His Son.
True Contentment Laughs at Anxiety
Anxiety is the state of being restless, uneasy, and apprehensive about present or future expectations or events.
Now anxiety is never able to stand against the peace of God but first you must ask the Lord to forgive you for allowing the spirit of anxiety to take precedence over your life; make your resolve and then ask the Lord for His peace.
Apostle Paul said that he had learnt not to be anxious but to be content in whatever the state that he was in because he knew his authority in Christ. He knew that Jesus was the author and the finisher of his faith and that as long as he had the mind of Christ, victory over anxiety belonged to him.
He had faith and knew that Jesus was the foundation of the Church. He had been told how God had spoken the word before many witnesses concerning His Son, He had proclaimed, He had declared and decreed that, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”
Contentment demands a true understanding of God’s word.
Paul had come to realize the absolute truth of these words; that the Lord Jesus Christ was victorious because His life and the glory were manifestations of the prophetic words spoken by His Father.
Therefore, the Father would stand behind His words to the end and the Son had made a determinate resolve to be the source contentment to the Father.
But every word of God will be tried, but God is saying that the trial is to make sure they become submitted to my authority; God says the word that I have spoken “must accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in that thing whereunto I sent it”.
God’s will allow contentment to shower down upon those that please Him.
Apostle Paul pleased God and God allowed the Spirit of revelation to prosper through his ministry that he could say; I have learnt to be content in whatever state God places me.
Today’s Christian sees Paul’s revelation but they forget about his trial. We forget him in 2 Corinthians 11:24-33, 12:7-9.
We see their glory but we are forgetting to tell his real story!
We see people in the church but we don’t know what’s behind them, what did they leave to get here; what is the real story? Some of them are going through abuse, some are depending on God for the next meal, while others have no place to go at the dismissal of Church services but because of pride or because they are afraid of what people may harbor in their minds, they refuse to request help. They listen to the minister as they speak with confidence that you should live by faith, yet at the end of the service they collect an offering not for the poor among them but for themselves. It makes them wonder, "Does anyone in heaven knows my dilemma?
The Bible says of Joseph, which was a type of Christ that, “Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him” (Ps.105:19).
God’s word seeks out perfection and they are designed to bring you to a place of contentment but it has to be tried.
But God promises that He is a buckler to everyone that places their trust in him; not the pastor, apostle, evangelist, teacher nor prophet, but in Him.
The Hebrew word for buckler is the word “magen” pronounced “maw-gane” and is a shield; a small shield that a soldier can use for his protection. A skilled soldier knew how to handle his buckler and allow it to work to his advantage. He knew how to move his arm that supported his shield to prevent wounds. But most of today’s Christians got their arms in the wrong position as beggars when we should be defending the realm. God wants you to lift up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit.
Understanding Contentment -
To have an understanding of the word in scripture we must be able to see the word as,
· Word – that is in it’s literal meaning; satisfaction, happiness, pleasure, ease and gratification
· a place – typical significance is given to the word “contentment” as a “place” prefiguring another; God brought Israel to a place in Him called “Myself”
· a person with distinguishing qualities that are yet to be absolutely attained except by the Man-God; God is our contentment
Contentment is a word that to man is always attainable but never truly attained in the truest sense of the word. The word has been defined as a state of satisfying or being satisfied.
Hence we know that Jesus fulfilled the work that had been placed before Him or assigned him to be completed and therefore satisfied the Father in heaven.
But we must remember that the work that Jesus did on this earth was not just adequate to meet the requirements of heaven but the Father was absolutely pleased.
Now just for a moment here,if I may take a "pit stop" and say that I believe that there is a difference between satisfactory and godly contentment; in one, it is doing a job just good enough to fulfill a need to receive clearance from a government agency, your family, job, etc. but the other, it is doing the job in such a excellent fashion that it brings joy and happiness to everyone that is involved. It releases an abounding joy that never cease to reveal the goodness of God.
The Lord Jesus had godly contentment and so he prevailed that He would have an inheritance among them that are sanctified.
Therefore what is contentment?
I. It is a place of gain – Contentment has it’s origin in God, for all help comes from the creator of heaven and earth, who is highly regarded and the one from whom comes all providential order. The Bible implies that Contentment was in the beginning with God as He prepared a habitation for man’s final resting place, and that it is a place of increase and expansion. God wants you to be gainfully employed in His kingdom for without employment there can be no expansion or increase. God will always increase the person that is actively participating in His kingdom in worthwhile endeavors. In other words, if you are involved in true service then God has marked you for promotion and it’s just a matter of time. It makes sense to start telling yourself that, glory to God, I am up next!
II. It is a place of testing – before one is place into true contentment there must come a place of testing because the thing that’s valued always comes with a price called obedience. Some times the difficulties that opposes one in one’s quest for contentment is powerful enough to cause delay to the very plans of God for one’s life.
In Gen. 22:2, we see God asking Abraham to offer his only son to him as a burnt offering.
We see again in 1Kgs. 17:13 Elijah placing a demand on the widow for the last morsel of bread. The widow needed to mature into a place of contentment but only the word of the prophet could stir her to that place. Another woman in 2Kgs.4:3 - extensive preparation with no blessing in sight. (Pray for rain – no one but a widow brought her umbrella)
III. Is a place of satisfaction where one receives reparation for some thing lost or an injury suffered. Ps. 36:8, Is.58:11. Isaiah calls it a place of reward for the righteous; a place where God fill to satisfy the longing soul.
IV. It is a place of revealed knowledge of the word of God, which will take one into a closer walk with the creator. Ps.17:15
V. It is a place of acceptance of ones purpose as ordained by God, for true service is revealed in comparison to that which man has ordained.
VI. It is a place of fortitude where upon resolving ones purpose as a created being under subjection to a higher authority is now prepared to advance offensively against all that is unlike the creator that with the help of the creator one may rearrange, replenish and take dominion.
VII. It is a place of peace Ps.29:11. The Lord promises perfect peace, Is.26:3. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, Is.53:5.