I know that I have the power to be content all the time. The Bible tells me how:
“I have learned the secret to being content: I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” Ph 4:13
And yet…I complain. I want. I mind. I repent. And then, I want and mind again! I’m actually writing this on Mother’s Day. It’s a beautiful day, kind people are saying “Happy Mother’s Day!” to me all day. My husband is cooking me dinner, my daughter is telling me she loves me, my mother is healthy and happy and we enjoyed a lovely day together yesterday. I have sooooooooooo many blessings it isn’t even fair. And yet, I still find reasons to feel discontent! My hip hurts. My dog kept me up. My son hasn’t called.,,,I know, even I think it’s pathetic. Am I the only one with an abundance of blessings and still wanting more?
I think the root of the problem is my selfish heart. My friend Pey is always encouraging the women in our Bible Study classes to root out what’s really going on in our hearts. So, I will endeavor to do just that. The easy answer is that I’m not “doing life” in His strength. So often I rely on my own strength. My own wisdom. My faulty, sinful, selfish self. Here I have access to the ultimate source of Wisdom, and I rely on my own instead! It sounds crazy when you really think about it. But so easy to do! Ultimately, it is putting me in God’s place; ‘I know what’s best for me’ or ‘I know what will bring me joy/peace/fulfillment’ instead of trusting that God is in control of everything, from the pain in my hip to the salvation of those I love.
I’ve been digging deeper, and God revealed what was going on in my heart and how I am affecting Him and His glory when I am discontent. Oh boy, it’s not good. First, He called to mind Paul, the author of the above referenced verse which is expanded here: “I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content… I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11b, 13. Whatever state. This was written by Paul while he was in prison! And not a fancy modern-day prison either. And he had ‘a thorn in his side’ (2 Cor 12:7) which God would not remove but did reveal its purpose: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations.” So, God’s purpose in allowing the thorn in his flesh was to keep Paul humble. And maybe that’s His reason for my ‘thorns.’ It doesn’t really matter though. What matters is that I need to trust Him that He has a purpose and not complain, even in my heart.
I kept digging and it got worse. God called to mind the Israelites. Remember when they had been recently freed from slavery by God’s miraculous power, they’re wandering in the wilderness eating manna: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions” Exodus 16:4, but they grumble because they wanted meat (Exodus 16) then they’re thirsty) Exodus 17)…? God was angry with them for being dissatisfied with all the good He had done for them. “One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles. The Lord heard them and became so angry that he destroyed the outer edges of their camp with fire.” Numbers 11:1 When I read that, I was shocked the Israelites were so ungrateful and whiny. I thought, ‘yes indeed they were a stiff-necked people!’ (with a self-righteous attitude, of course) Well guess what? I’m stiff-necked too. And, when I -we-are ungrateful for the many things our great God has done for us, I am sure He is not delighted with us either. He has freed us from slavery by a much greater sacrifice and miracle—Christ suffering and dying for our sins and then being raised from the dead! We are free from sin and death!
And so, I repent once again for my ungrateful heart. I count my many, many blessings and thank God that He loves me enough to forgive me, to have saved me, and to enable me to live in a manner that gives Him glory and is content. May it be for you also.
May God bless you with peace, wisdom and the freedom that is found in Christ.