The above verse has been on my mind quite a bit over the last few days and how I would love to be able to say this is true in my life. However, it is true that I want to learn to be content in any and every situation. I believe I am learning this lesson gradually. I guess the fact that the apostle Paul mentions the word ‘learned’ implies he went through a process to achieve this reality in his life, rather than it happening immediately after his conversion to Christ. I find this encouraging.
It is a huge challenge to be content in any and every circumstance in life, especially when my human nature wants only good things to happen according to my desires rather than God’s desires. Simply put, I often want things to go exactly how I want them to and end up discontented when they don’t. Perhaps you can identify with me here.
I have to confess, there are things in my life which cause me to be discontented, particularly during this current pandemic, with the many restrictions and loss of freedom affecting every aspect of normal life. I keep reminding myself of today’s verse and pray God will help me to learn this lesson really well.
As with all things in the Christian life, change can take time, and some people progress much more quickly than others. Some people can run a marathon whereas some, like me, would struggle to run even a short distance.
I think of the children’s story about the race between a hare and a tortoise. The hare set off on the race with great gusto, then sat back and relaxed part way through the race. The tortoise slowly passed the hare as he was no doubt snoozing by the roadside. The tortoise reached the finishing line ahead of the hare, much to his horror. Although the pace of the tortoise was slow, he was determined to get to the finishing line. God loves the tortoises just as much as He loves the hares!
God understands we all vary in pace and He is more interested in us getting to where He wants us to be, rather than in how fast we get there. The end result is what counts. So long as we are willing to change, He will keep on working in our lives, transforming us from the inside out. It is only by the strength Jesus gives us that we are able to change. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13). He will never stop working in our lives. ‘Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 1:6).
As we learn to become contented in every circumstance in life, we actually begin to live more as God intends us to live. ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’ (1 Timothy 1:6). In Christ we have everything we need to live a contented and godly life.
Prayer: I ask You, Lord, to enable me to be contented, despite any difficult circumstances I may be experiencing right now. Thank You that You are always with me, teaching me and guiding me and forgiving me each and every time I fail. You know my human frailty but you also see my heart’s desire to live a life that brings glory to You. Amen.
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