A recent topic of discussion amongst my social circles has been that of contentment. Contentment like physical fitness is some elusive goal of man, one which we pursue through the use of self-help seminars, life coaches, pills and vacations. Constantly, people are searching a way to reduce their stress but they cannot see the solution through the pile of stress relief balls.
I have mulled over the thought of contentment for the past couple days. It is not a new topic of thought for me. I have done my time in the prison of discontent and even find myself visiting on occasion. However, I believe I have found the key to contentment. That key is joy.
The best thing of all, joy is free. The hard thing, we cannot bring ourselves joy. We can bring ourselves happiness, but true joy can only be brought by Christ. The problem is, we have to focus on Him. Too often we think contentment is happiness, but happiness is a man-made emotion. A movie can make us happy, but a movie cannot make us content. Only Christ can make us joyful.
Since the beginning of time, we humans have been concerned with promoting ourselves. The original sin resulted from the desire to be like God. The original sin resulted from discontent. Eve was not content with what God had given her. She wanted more. That is the same thing Lucifer (Satan) was guilty of. He was a beautiful, powerful angel, but he wanted more. Greed is the enemy of contentment. Hence the jars of stress relief pills.
All modern fixes do though is permit us to have less consequences for being discontented and henceforth causing us to become more discontented. Then we go into depression, and take anti-depressants and soon we are humans who bleed pharmaceuticals but still have no relief. Even the self worth systems which have you brainwash yourself into believing that you are actually worth something are not a solution. Pretty soon, the world will come to you with more chants to the contrary. For every time you say to yourself, "I am beautiful, I am beautiful, I am beautiful" billboards and television ads will scream at you, "You may be beautiful but you are not beautiful enough." To the world, no one will ever be enough.
So how do we have contentment? Well, if greed is the enemy of contentment, it would make sense that we would have to get rid of greed and pride. It is a paradox of faith that to be content with our worth, we must see ourselves as worthless. To stop there would be depressing. Here comes the joy.
As Christians, our worth is found in Christ. To Him, we are priceless. What delight!
When I live for myself, for my wants, for my needs. When my life is focused on me, I will never find contentment. Forever, I will search for that next high, that next accolade, the fulfillment of that next desire, that next dream come true. My flesh will never ever be satisfied. What a glorious thing that I am not a slave to my flesh any more!
We have been freed from bondage to our flesh by the death of Christ. He gave us the opportunity to find our whole identity, He gave us an indentity... Himself. He has given us access to everything. I have unhindered access to the throne of the Creator of the Universe and He welcomes me to come to Him. He desires me to come to Him.
My life, in Him, has specific meaning and purpose. I was formed by Him, crafted by His hands with intent. My life is not worthless; but my worth is only found in Him. I will never be a supermodel. I have never won a beauty competition. Yet, I know that the Creator of the Universe thinks I am beautiful.
My failures have found their final resting place far beyond reach of memory or enemy. Buried beneath the cross, drowned in the blood of Christ. Gone, never to be brought to rememberance by my God. There is no condemnation.
Greed vanishes when it is replaced by the joy of knowing Christ. I cannot desire anything more when I know I have Him. I already have more than I have ever deserved and more than I will ever need. He is sufficient. In that is joy. In joy is satisfaction. In satisfaction is contentment. I may not see all of my dreams ever come true, but His far exceed my own. I am pretty sure I can "settle" for that.