Contentment: Truth and Lies

Fall has officially reached Florida with cooler morning temperatures and lower humidity. Break out the boots, and get ready for bonfires!

Over the weekend, I enjoyed my first smore of the season with some friends. I watched as people piled dry branches onto the bonfire. Almost instantly, flames engulfed the branches, and the radiating heat made me step farther back.

We’ve been talking about contentment here, and as I thought about the weekend, I realized that the bonfire is a perfect analogy. If we’re discontent in one area, that spark will spread to other areas of our lives.

However, the opposite is also true. Remember that song we sang as children? This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.

Contentment can be equally contagious. If we’re grateful, we can challenge others to focus less on what they don’t have and more on what they do.

Today, we’re going to look at a few more truths about contentment that I hope will help spread hope and snuff out guilt for those who struggle in this area.

Where we find contentment

Have I mentioned lately that I love the girls in my youth group? Well, I do. Their sweet attitudes and big hearts refresh my spirit.

One high school student who follows my blog handed me a slip of paper on Wednesday with some verses about contentment she wanted to share with me. One of the verses was Acts 2:28, which paraphrases the Old Testament truth of Psalm 16:11. It spoke to this very question: What is the source of our contentment?

You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence (Acts 2:28 NKJV).

We find true joy and contentment when we live in God’s presence. And not just live as in scrape by and survive. No, live as in abundantly! After all, Jesus Himself said:

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10b).

The bottom line is that we find contentment when we make Christ our center and stay grounded in His truth. In His presence alone are fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

What contentment is not

Some of us will still face the battlegrounds of discontentment. Sometimes, these encounters leave us feeling defeated and ashamed that we grew so easily discouraged.

Satan will try to shame us into believing we’re not enough. This is a dangerous lie, because in one sense, it’s true. In and of ourselves, we always fall short.

But we aren’t the source of our sufficiency. God is. Let the words of these two verses wash over you:

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5).

And one more:

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Every time you’re tempted to give in to a defeated spirit, remember that God is always more than enough to see you through the struggles you face.

One last truth for the day

My final thought about contentment is this: Wanting something doesn’t equal discontentment. A few years back, I talked about this truth in a post called I shall not want.

Many of us may have unanswered prayers or unmet desires. If that describes you, take heart in these lines penned by R. Leighton, based on Psalm 37:4:

Delight thou in the Lord, and He shall give thee thy heart’s desire,—HIMSELF; and then surely thou shalt have all.

Live in abundance,

Kristen

 

Tweetables

Contentment: Truth and Lies – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Spread hope and snuff out guilt for those who struggle with contentment. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Wanting something doesn’t equal discontentment. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

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Happy Independence Day!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

— Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776

Truth for today

The Declaration prizes virtues our forefathers fought and died to preserve. Eternal freedom, however, is found in Christ Jesus. Click to Tweet.

  • Equality: All men and woman are equal to God who shows no favoritism (Gal. 2:6).
  • Life: He offers eternal life to those who believe by faith in the atoning blood of Jesus to forgive their sins (Eph. 2:8-9).
  • Liberty: We can stand confidently in the liberty found through our new life in Christ (Gal. 5:1).
  • Happiness: We discover true joy when we delight ourselves in the Lord (Psalm 37:4).

Wishing you and your family a blessed Independence Day!

~ Kristen

The Joy of… Receiving God’s Gift

Photo credit: Miss Kristen
Photo credit: Miss Kristen

Joy is the theme for this time of year, and so often, we mistake joy for something it is not. Joy is not a state of happiness or something that comes from an ideal set of circumstances. It’s not dependent on a relationship status or the size of your paycheck.

Children find great joy in receiving gifts and their parents, in giving them. I’ve always believed it is more blessed to give than to receive; after all, that’s what Jesus Himself said (Acts 20:35).

And yet, in one area, we are truly more blessed to receive – and in receiving, we find joy that no other person can supply.

The greatest joy we can ever receive is God’s indescribable gift of salvation (2 Corinthians 9:15).

***

Bible teacher and author Dr. Gary Chapman has written several books on what he calls The Five Love Languages, which simply stated, are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

If you’ve never read any of his books on this subject, I encourage you to find one and learn how to speak the love language(s) of the people you care most about (family, friends, siblings, boyfriends).

But let’s face it, girls. That special someone’s love, no matter how deep, will never completely satisfy us – because it wasn’t designed to do that.

Only God can satisfy us. He knows us more intimately and cares about us more completely than anyone else.

How does God speak our love language? That’s what I want to take some time to think about in my next couple posts.

***

With Christmas nearly here, it seems only fitting to think about how God meets our love language of “receiving gifts.”

Many of us could quote John 3:16 from memory:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV).

For God so loved… that He gave. There’s the best Christmas present anyone could ever want. And truly it is ours for the taking.

But we have to receive it. It seems strange, the idea of refusing the most wonderful gift ever given. After all, would we ever dream of declining a free apartment in the nicest subdivision, free diamond bling, a free lifetime spa membership, or a free Vera-Bradley wallet-full of cash?

The no-brainer answer is NO!

Ok, so why would we decline a free gift that promises an eternal home in heaven, the chance to walk streets of gold, a body that never grows old, and a place where we will have no need of money to buy things because all we could ever want is to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

That’s our gift – yours and mine – for the taking, offered to us by Jesus Christ. There’s no payment necessary and no strings attached. God’s Son already paid the price.

We have but to accept the gift.

~ Miss Kristen