Saturday, July 28, 2012

Contentment: Not Just for Cows

There's an old adage which says that contented cows give better milk. Great. Let the cows be content. It seems all they do is stand around, chew on grass, and wait for someone to come milk them. Why wouldn't they be content? Cows don't have to worry about jobs, their health, finances, relationships, housework, their appearance.

It's not easy to be content with life when I'm juggling all kinds of worries and comparing my life to someone else's.



Wouldn't you know it. God has a way of pointing out these little issues in our lives. My guess is that if I asked for a show of hands right now, nearly everyone could raise their hand in affirmation that they deal with some sort of discontent in his or her life. I know that's been true for me. If you don't deal with this issue at all, do tell. What's your secret?!

I've been trying to write this post for weeks. I started doing a word study and research, then set it aside. I'd think about it again, but kept putting it off. Then I finally started to work seriously on this post but the writing process came to another screeching halt. It's like I kept hitting a brick wall. So, for some reason this post has been incredibly difficult to write and I don't know why.

This issue all started a few months ago after speaking with a friend about contentment. I confessed that I was struggling with contentment in the area of my singleness. I've been dealing with it my entire life. I've become used to it. For the most part I've been content with my single life. Then my life was turned upside down and... BAM!

So I started wrestling with this issue in recent months. I think I am now in a much better place of contentment. That place is...
  • recognizing God's authority in my life (even my love life),
  • understanding His sovereignty,
  • giving Him control,
  • realizing that God loves me so very much that He really does want the absolute best for me,
  • and knowing I need to wait for His timing and His best.
For me this discontentment started because of my wrestling. Once I stopped wrestling and put my trust in God, contentment started creeping back into my life.

One Scripture which is very familiar is that of Paul's profession of contentment in the book of Philippians:

"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content  
with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing
or with everything. I have learned the secret of living
in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty,
with plenty or little. For I can do everything through 
Christ, who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:11-13

I love the following quote which seems to sum up the whole issue of contentment for me:

"Paul’s relationship with God superseded 
whatever he did or did not have. 
His contentment was not based on his circumstances, 
but on his relationship with Christ." 
~ Albert Lee in Our Daily Bread

Mr. Lee also reminds us that contentment is a learned behavior which does not happen overnight.

The strength it takes to be content does not come from our sheer willpower, but Christ provides what we need to persevere.

So, if contented cows give better milk, then do contented Christians produce better "fruit?" I would say that is probably true. 

Yet true godliness with contentment 
is itself great wealth. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6

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