Contentment in Christ displays itself through peaceful character, rational behaviour, and gracious speech; it’s unmistakable and an obvious work of the Holy Spirit.
While spiritual discontentment begins when your focus shifts from Jesus as Lord to self; contentment begins with Christ being your highest priority. The apostle Paul said; “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Philippians 3:8). Christ comes first. Jesus is NOT a convenient addition to life, He is your life. Christ is NOT some formula which gets added to your way of thinking to guarantee the outcome you want. The Lord is NOT an optional extra you pull out of your spiritual cupboard when life needs sweetening.
The truth is, Christ’s leadership in a Spirit filled life produces the inescapable fruit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, when you “walk by the Spirit, …you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Those irritating and shameful parts of your fleshly character will dissolve away under the light of Christ’s influence. There will be a progressive mellowing as your character is reshaped into the image of Christ (2Co 3:18).
Faith tools for contentment
This is why it’s so important to know God’s Word, to trust His providential working in your life, and to cling to His promises. You see, contentment is a choice; a faith decision which exchanges pain and anxiety with the peace of God, it exchanges self for Christ.
Obviously, this does not make the difficulties disappear; rather it surrenders the control of difficulties to God. Faith exchanges self-reliance for Christ dependency. It over-rules frustrations by looking for opportunities to serve as prevention against pride and idleness. Belief prays with thankfulness, even though there may be tears. Trust watches for God’s intervention with expectation, even though there may be questions. Love inserts itself into other’s lives as a worker of peace for Christ instead of seeking isolation.
As a child of God, you increasingly learn to “be content with what you have,” because you have prioritised God’s promise which says; “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). The certainty of security in Christ overshadows all else in life, including fears and unanswered questions.
Even when overshadowed by great stress which may be forced upon you by circumstances and others, the believer can rest in the rock solid relationship they have with God in Christ. Like Paul, the faithful believer says; “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Discontentment easily takes over if self or worldly attitudes persist. “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:16-17). Faith transfers control from self to God. Faith shifts your purpose from self to Christ’s glory and other’s benefit.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). “The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied…” (Proverbs 19:23). Today, seek contentment in Christ because it’s not haphazard. It can be yours for the choosing, through simple faith that surrenders all to Christ as Lord. Live it and share it.