Last week Ho Maes, a student from the Baptist College, was visiting us and took our Bible Study. This week I resume our thoughts on Experiencing God. The theme for this evening is contentment. I begin, as usual, with a video testimony.
Take a piece of paper and write down five things that describe you. Put them in order of importance, with number one being the most important. You should have a list of five sentences beginning, 'I am a ______'.
These are the things that you believe define you. They are also the things that you will look to for satisfaction. I suggest that you have a problem if your list doesn't begin along the of lines of 'I am a Christian/child of God etc.' Our identity should, first and foremost, be in relationship to God.
For example, if our primary identity is that of being a husband/wife then we are likely to look to our marriage to be our primary source of satisfaction. But as someone said, 'spouses make lousy gods.' Our spouse hasn't got enough love to satisfy us, they will never be perfectly patient with us and one day death will separate us from them.
So make sure that you get the order of your identity right. Similarly, make sure that for each thing on this list you have a realistic expectation. Otherwise you will be discontent. After all, when reality fails to meet expectation then frustration is sure to result.
What do we need to be content?
What does the world tell us we need to be content?
How might life fail to deliver some of the things that we have hoped for?
Is there such a thing a godly discontent?
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:3-10).
Many years ago my pastor gave me a piece of advice. He told me to remember that godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim. 6:6). The context of this verse has to do with being content with the material possessions we have but the principle can apply to a broad range of things. Rather than striving for more stuff and thinking that this will deliver satisfaction we must trust God. God knows us best and God knows what is best for us. He is our provider and he can be trusted.
What words would we associate with contentment? (e.g. thankfulness)
What words would we associate with discontentment? (e.g. jealousy)
In what ways can our relationship with God bring us satisfaction?
'I am to love God enough to be contented ... A quiet disposition and a heart giving thanks at any given movement is the real test of the extent to which we love God at any given moment' (Francis Schaeffer).
Spend time thanking God for his goodness to you.