September 28, 2008

Joy as Contentment

Philippians 4:10-13

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Philippians 4:11


Can we ever truly be content? When we look around, it can be hard to imagine having total contentment. The human heart is always looking for something—more of this or that, the latest upgrade, or something that needs improvement. And how could we be content with so many bad things in the world? The AIDS pandemic, widespread poverty, terrorist threats, racism, and oppression sow discontent everywhere.

Paul talks about a kind of contentment, a sense of peace in the midst of this broken world, that focuses on Jesus and his promises to make all things right. The secret of contentment is to have your life defined by Jesus, not by circumstances.

True contentment rests in the promise that God does not abandon the children he loves. God proved his love by sending his Son and by giving his Holy Spirit. Contentment also rejoices in the concern that believers show as they help one another and reach out to others in all kinds of circumstances. It looks ahead in hope to the day when Jesus will return and remove all discontent.

Nothing in life lasts. Food spoils. Friendships shift and break. Drought and wildfires consume livelihood.

Why not find contentment in the One who has already given you the eternal life “that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4)?

Dear Lord, help my heart to find contentment in Jesus alone. “Give me neither poverty nor riches”—only what brings glory to you. Give me hope in your promises each day. Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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