Contentment and Blessing

Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. (1 Peter 3:8-9)

The challenges are both internal and external. Internally, I desire to live a contented life. Externally, I desire to respond with blessing, regardless.

Contentment

There are unceasing attacks against contentment coming from all sides. Attacks come from advertisements, which I am quick to judge, but also comparisons I make, which I am a bit more hesitant to admit. Honestly, it could be the thoughts of comparison that are the most difficult to fight. Seeing another as ________ more than me is really unwarranted. I cannot be someone else nor can anyone be me. Understanding and accepting uniqueness is vital for contentment. And, the key is embracing the truth that my Lord is more than enough.

Living contentedly rests upon the truth that Christ is enough, always. Everything else floats between need/supply, lack/abundance, full/empty, have/have not… It is during  times of need that I learn that Christ is enough. I suppose that is why the Lord allows needs in His children. It’s not so much learning how to go without, as much as it is learning that I always have all I need in Christ.

Humility

Living with contentment opens the door to living humbly. Do I have the attitude toward _________? Can I give up privilege and adopt a position of humility? Can I see in everything a chance to die to selfish desires?

Lord, You are truly more than enough. I joyfully accept your decisions and limitations knowing that all You do is defined with Your definition of “best”. Help me remember these lessons and live my life in the greatest bounty of Your joy and provision.

Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

Who does not need wisdom? Who has not experienced God’s working, not understanding what He was doing? This has been the focus of the week for me. I have learned that to run the race that God has laid out for me requires His wisdom. Understanding the things which tightly control and bind my life, things which hinder my running, requires His wisdom.

Living with enthusiasm regarding what He’s doing requires His wisdom. He truly is more than enough in every situation. His heart and hands are all over the details of every moment and decision. His wisdom clarifies and assures me that He is more than enough.

Psalm 128 encourages me to stand in awe of God’s “yes” for me. As His child I need wisdom to even understand answers to my prayers. Yes, no, wait all flow from Abba Father.

I need His wisdom to simplify. It’s more than throwing things away or downscaling. It’s about simplifying the heart, holding everything loosely, with open hands.

I need His wisdom to use my tongue wisely and graciously. The truth can be said with grace.

The bottom line, I need the wisdom of God for everything. There is another lesson though. For wisdom, I go to Him and through unswerving faith I receive His wisdom. His wisdom is not one of many options or something that can be tossed away if I don’t like it. His wisdom settles my heart and situations completely.

Father, You are wisdom. I realize I need Your wisdom and guidance for every step I take. Thank you for being there, in the trials and tests. Thank you for every answer. I accept Your wisdom because I know it rises out of your heart. The deep peace in the Beloved is mine! Thank you, Father.

Relationships

Psalm 128:1, 4

How joyful are those who fear the Lord—all who follow his ways! That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.

enjoy, joyful, prosperous, fruitful, flourishing, vigorous…

The setting of this encouraging psalm is the family. Look at the adjectives! Can such a family exist? Absolutely! This is God’s plan for the family. Oh, how we have ruined it in so many ways.

I was privileged to have met Edith Schaeffer a couple of times in the early 80’s. In her book What Is a Family? she offers some wise and meaningful guidance:

the birthplace of creativity
a shelter in the time of storm
a perpetual relay of truth
a door that has hinges and a lock
an educational control
a museum of memories

I believe these, along with Psalm 128, give us a glimpse of God’s plan for the family. Creativity, shelter, a place of truth, a door that welcomes and protects, a place of lifelong training, precious memories in an atmosphere of enjoyment, joy, prosperity, flourishing fruitfulness and vitality – this is what we would expect in a relationship with our Lord who loves us.

What do we do if we are going to realize this for ourselves? The simple, but challenging answer is, “Fear the Lord, follow His ways.” After taking this decisive first step, consider what is interfering with this being lived out in your home. Whatever it is, that reveals your next step.

Lord, our families are far from what you desire;  we have strayed from your beautiful plan. Today, we want to step toward your plan of vibrant relationships. Show us how to fear and follow You in our homes.

Forfeiting intimacy

When I choose to live at a “fact” level, only desiring facts about the Lord and His ways, I forfeit intimacy. When an unbeliever lives at this place, knowing about the Lord but not committing to Him, it means death. For the believer, it means dryness.

It’s all about relationships, everything!

Waiting, trusting, living, trying – it’s all about Him! I want to know Him (Philippians 3:7-11). I want to know Him in the valleys, on the mountain tops, in the deserts, in isolated places. In each is a unique picture of my Lord. Knowing Him leads to a greater consecration to Him which influences how I see and live my life and experiences. From that comes true satisfaction.

Know Him, consecrate everything to Him, be satisfied by Him!