Keeping Contentment

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"   Hebrews 13:5-6 

I'm incredibly thankful that the Holy Scriptures speak so directly and clearly to our lives, when we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear, solely by God's grace. These words in Hebrews first admonish us to intentionally live in such a way as to point our affections toward Jesus alone, not toward earthly things that will inevitably fail to fulfill us.

I love the action word "keep." It reminds me that I not only choose to avoid things, but I also choose to pursue things...I put my eyes, thoughts, emotional energy, time, money and hands on certain things. And when Jesus and the advancement of his gospel are not at the center, my life is being filled with counterfeit happiness. When I fail to "keep," my life is steadily filled with many kinds of false loves. Love of money is one, love of a pretty self-image and others' approval is another, love of control is also all-too-familiar. And these loves are the worst of partners! They consistently bait me with grandiose promises, then fail to deliver. They capitalize on my weaknesses, point the accusing finger of shame, and leave me empty and desperate for peace.

So where can I turn? I read here that the answer is to be content with what I have. Even in these words my sinful flesh wants to turn immediately to self-sufficiency. "I need to drum up more contentment within myself!" But the Perfect Counselor gently corrects again, and I remember the theme that runs throughout all of Scripture- God wills and reigns, I submit and rest, for His glory and my joy. I don't have to drum up contentment. I CANNOT drum up contentment! But the same Spirit of God who raised Christ from the dead dwells in me, by grace alone, and he has promised that he will complete what he has started. So I can trust that he will do the drumming up- in the most pleasurable, awe-filled, begrudging-free way, because it will all come from putting my eyes on Jesus!

The greek word for "being content" is arkeō, which is a verb that is not only used to mean "to be satisfied" but also "to defend, ward off" and "to be possessed of unfailing strength." Arkeō is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when the Lord is responding to Paul's pleads to remove the thorn given to him in the flesh, by saying My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Jesus. is. sufficient.

His grace and power in my life have absolutely nothing to do with my performance or ability. Instead of demanding a prerequisite of strength, Jesus is glorified in our weakness. I am free from thinking I have to have it all together, or at least look like I do. I can embrace my shortcomings and rejoice that Jesus uses them to show off his beauty even more. I'm free from living in fear! It's fear that drives us to those false loves- fear that God won't really provide or remain faithful. But His perfect love casts out fear, and his grace is sufficient.

So I can close my eyes, take a deep breath, and remember Who my God is. He is faithful, when I have cheated. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is the Perfect Love! And there is where I find peace, contentment, freedom, and every other thing my soul longs for. I was created by him and for him, nothing else will satisfy.


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