Monday, November 05, 2012

Joy & Contentment

I believe God is working on me in these two areas right now.  To some degree these are synonymous terms but I think there is a subtle variance that merits mentioning both.  To live in Christ should make us very joyful people.  We should be beaming with the knowledge of our eternal state and new identity, ever praising Him for the salvation He's extended to us.  In our most challenging and dark moments we should be content, knowing this life is temporal and that He will restore everything to perfection, wiping away every tear.

This is not to say that its inappropriate to grieve or display righteous anger at times.  To everything there is a season.  But how often are you robbed of your Joy in a given day?  How often are you proving to be content in all things?  Here is what scripture says about these two terms:

Philippians 4:12 - 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 every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.

James 1:2 - Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds

I prayerfully accepted this challenge last week as I felt like I really needed to work on shifting my focus away from situation-based contentment and more toward Christ-centered contentment.  You see the first of these two options is akin to having a foundation on sand.  In any given day my mood can shift 100 times depending on how well the kids are behaving, how well my wife and I are communicating, how well business is growing, how I am feeling, or how well traffic is moving (just to name a few factors).  Its an unreliable and exhausting method of remaining joyful.  I might argue its also impossible.  Trust me, I know from experience.  Yet if we can learn to tether our contentment on Christ, it will remain constant because He is constant.

As if to really make sure I was serious about growing in this area, I hurt my back on Saturday pretty badly.  So let's see how serious about this I am while being very uncomfortable no matter what position I mold my body into.  Let's see if I can exude pure Joy and even give thanks with this gnawing, constant pain that with one wrong twisting movement can send shock-waves of severe muscle spasms.  I can already tell you that I've had some failures this weekend.  But I press on, knowing that this is a lesson for me, knowing that growth in my faith is the end result, and knowing that circumstances are temporary.  Christ is constant.

How are you doing in this area?  How often are you letting the enemy rob you of your joy and contentment?