Last night at OBC we had a guest speaker. Pastor Don White from Wahoo Community Church spoke to us about contentment using scripture from Philippians 4:10-20. Contentment is an attribute of life that we all can learn how to increase. It is something that I struggle with and I imagine that I am not alone in this. Go to the Don White audio link to listen to the audio from last night.
I am going to transparent here. The reason I know I struggle with contentment is because I tend to overeat at times. I am learning that I overeat to gain instant gratification for my senses. There are things in my life that are outside of my control, mainly the behavior of adult children. So in my time of stress and anxiety over them I will turn to food. Whenever I have a conflict with my wife, I turn to food, and usually it’s food high in carbohydrates. Much of these things are outside of my control and in order to deal with it I eat. It is a weakness I am praying about more and more each day.
After last night’s lesson about contentment I am beginning to understand where I am failing in my contentment. The contentment the apostle Paul writes about in Philippians is a contentment much like joy. It is not determined by our outward circumstances. Paul’s lesson through his letter is to teach us to be content in all circumstances. The key to this contentment is found in 4:13 a verse that is quoted out of context as often as John 3:16. When we learn to trust in Christ for all things then we are truly learning contentment. For whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, these circumstances are the result of the decree of God. So if the sovereign God who directs all things has placed me in the situations I am currently in, He is also the same Lord who cares for me and knows what is best for me. The secret Paul says that he has learned is to trust in Christ in all things, whether he is in humble means or in prosperity, being filled or going hungry, having abundance and suffering need. Paul says:
I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me.
Last night Don White referenced another book that I have now added to my wish list. It is “Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs. Don spoke something either out of this book or out of his own study that really hit home with me. He said grumbling is offensive before the Lord. Grumbling is a huge contrast against contentment. In my circumstances I believe the grumblings from my circumstances is the comfort food I seek and consume. It is a hard lesson to learn but if is important to the Lord and it was obviously important to Paul, it should be important to me. If the contrast, grumbling, is offensive before the Lord, I need to learn to deal with my circumstances by trusting in Christ and not in my comfort food. True contentment is peaceful and quiet.