Looking Through the Lens of Contentment

What is your word for the year?

How often do we get lured in by what looks good only to realize we’ve short-changed ourselves and gotten a worthless emotional fix at the expense of a truly satisfying yet maybe less flashy object? That must-have kitchen gadget that now sits gathering dust. Last year’s expensive fashion accessory you just put in the box to Goodwill because it’s out of style. The latest fad self-help book that was no help at all because you simply need Jesus, not a formula.

Distractions abound. We clutter our houses with stuff which takes time away from people. Bling entices us. The new movie release calls our name. Pinterest projects tempt us. Our long range “To Do” list gets longer instead of getting completed. Books pile up on the shelf and in the app waiting to be read. The latest diet or exercise fad promises a new us, new life, hope. We take expensive vacations, yet we return home needing to rest up from them. We feel the call to buy more, do more, get more, go more. More, more, more distractions!

man-walking-on-the-empty-street-3289156.jpgWe try to fill the emptiness in our soul with these distractions. We seek relief, escape from that dark, scary void. We long to matter. But an ache so deep cannot be filled by material stuff. These distractions are simply packaging popcorn we use to try to fill the gaps in our soul. What we really need is a relationship with our Creator which amply supplies all that we long for and brings self-acceptance and meaning to our souls. We need the Father’s perspective which yields satisfaction, contented lives of faith, and all one needs to face the road ahead without fear.

As I was seeking my Word for the Year this December, the Father surprised me. The word He gave me is Content. Not success, or joy, or hope or any of a number of great things. Simply, Content. As my flesh seeks for thousands of things to comfort and fill the void in my heart, my spirit longs to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12)

Have you learned that secret?

Contentment yields the strength we need because we are resting in Christ. In the very next verse Paul said, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” And we can too. We can live contently in plenty or in want – whatever our circumstances are if we are content in Christ. Why? Not because we are denying our problems, but because as Paul goes on to say in verse 19, “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Because we know that God Himself will meet all our needs.

Do you know that?

Do you have contentment? Are you seeking it?

In 1 Timothy 6, Paul again mentions contentment. He talks to his young disciple, Timothy,  about godly teaching, people who cause unhealthy controversies, quarrels, and strife, and people who seek financial gain. He reminds Timothy in verse 6, that, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” So as we grow in godliness this year, let’s add contentment and experience this great gain. What gain? Maybe more peace. More compassion. More usable time because we aren’t bound up being a care-taker of all our possessions and close-up-of-eyeglasses-256273distractions. A greater ability to hear from the Lord as we sit in contentment at His feet. An ability to see with spiritual eyes the the direction to take on the paths before us.

Sometimes our physical eyesight gets bad and we need to get glasses. Uncertainty abounds from not being able to see clearly. Sometimes our spiritual eyesight gets blurred as well and we need a new lens to look through. Sometimes we are blinded by the glare of the world. Whether your vision is blurred or you need some sunglasses to see through the glare, contentment will be a new lens for you. Try it on and see if it doesn’t help.

Maybe contentment is a primary need of your heart, like mine. As you seek the focus you need for this new year, as you pick your “word for the year” or “verse for the year,” consider the word content. Look up the scriptures on contentment. It may be just the focus you need. It will definitely send you down a new path.

Whatever your word or verse is this year, please share with us in the comments below. Others may be encouraged by what you share.

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