Sunday, July 28, 2019

Finding Contentment

It has been over a year since my last post. Other writing responsibilities and life in general have kept me from posting. So here goes some things I'm learning from God's Word.

Contentment – Philippians 4:4-13.
1.      How does rejoicing in the Lord help bring contentment (vs 4)?
It puts the focus on good things instead of bad things. Rom 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” As we’ve talked about before, focus on the hope we have. This leads to patience in affliction and we need for prayer to do it. In 1 Peter 1:6 we see where people were undergoing persecution actually rejoiced in their suffering. If you can rejoice in suffering, then you know that this isn’t all there is in life. You are content because you know that this brings glory to Jesus (2 Cor 12:10).
2.      How does reasonableness (gentleness) lead to contentment (vs 5)?
It means you don’t have to be in control of every situation. It is contrary to the way the world thinks. Jesus made it clear in Matt 5:38-39, “You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'  But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” When you are gentle and reasonable, you no longer need to get even. It is letting the Lord take care of those things where the world would tell you to be vengeful.
3.      What is the reason for reasonableness (vs 5)?
The Lord is at hand. He is in charge; we don’t need to be. 2 Thess 1:6-8 “since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.” We can be gentle because we know that the Lord will judge. If he judges those who have afflicted others, then we will be at content in our circumstances because we have been gentle.
4.      Why does anxiousness work against contentment (vs 6)?
Look at the definition of anxiousness, “1. experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. 2. wanting something very much, typically with a feeling of unease” (OxfordDictionaries). We can only find true contentment in Jesus. Anxiety takes our eyes of him and puts it on ourselves or our circumstances. Matt 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” When we are seeking his kingdom, we will be content. Ultimately, we know that we are not in control even though we like to think we are. When we are seeking our own kingdom and we know we are not really in control of it, we will be anxious.
5.      What is the remedy for anxiousness (vs 6)?
Prayers of two types relieves anxiety, asking and thanking. Asking releases the anxiety to God (1 Peter 5:7) and thanking him honors him and gives him all the credit, glory. It acknowledges how he is in control and how he has helped us. Col 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
6.      How does vs. 7 set the stage for contentment?
Without the peace of God, we will never be content. His peace guards our hearts and our minds. If we don’t follow through with the prayers and do the work described in the following verses, we will not have his peace. The battle is in two areas, our heart and our minds. Heart are the emotions and minds are our active thoughts. Prov 19:11 “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
7.      What does vs 8 combat that leads to discontentment?
It combats bad thoughts or continuous loop thinking. It is practical and true. If you think about good things, you will become content. If you find yourself being negative or rehashing the same thing over and over you will not be content. Break the cycle with good thoughts. Praise the Lord for the good things you have. Praise him for all that he has done. Ps 77:11-12 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.”
8.      What do you have to do personally to work toward contentment (vs 9)?
You must stop talking about these things and do them. James 1:23-25 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” Putting God’s word into practice is simply doing what he commands. Of course, you can’t really do this in your own power or Jesus’ death on the cross would have been unnecessary. You have to do it in the power that Jesus gives us when we ask for it. He has sent his Holy Spirit to enable us to do these things. You must ask him for help (Heb 4:16).
9.      How do you help each other toward contentment (vs 10)?
You need to be concerned for each other. Your concern is for meeting the needs of each other and not focusing on you own needs. Contentment come from helping others and putting them before yourself. Just need to keep going back to Phil 2:3-11 and see how Jesus put us before himself. He is God, gave up everything to die for our sins, and then God exalted him. There will be no contentment when you only focus on satisfying yourself.
10.  In what situations should you be seeking contentment (vs 11)?
Seek contentment in every situation. This means looking at each situation as a place where God has you for the moment and doing what he wants. Ps 37:4-5 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Keep reading in the Psalm. Wait for him, don’t fret, don’t become angry.
11.  How should circumstances affect your contentment (vs 12)?
Circumstances teach us how to be content. They are the testing that continue until we have learned the lesson. When troublesome circumstances come and you are content, you won’t even recognize them as being troubling. Matt 11:29-30 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
12.  Where are you looking for your contentment (vs 13)?
It should be Jesus. John 15:4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”