Learning To Be Content
It seems we live in a country (and culture) that has become saturated with stress and impatience almost in every facet of life. The result of this often causes a negative effect for others as well as the ones doing so. As you drive down the road, does it seem most are driving a bit faster than just a while back, and many are very impatient and disrespectful in every way? I often wonder how it would be if all of us would take just a moment or two to think about how we treat others. Do we try to be thoughtful and caring, or angry and impatient, taking out our stress on others? I know I have caught myself falling into this wrongful attitude, especially when on the road. It often carries over into parking lots, etc. I wonder if many of us need to drive so fast and impatient, especially when we really have no schedule to meet. Just thinking.
In the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians he mentions something we all need to heed, and take seriously, I think. The subject Paul is talking to them about is the ability to be CONTENT. He mentioned he learned to be that way, no matter what came along in his life.
"Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be CONTENT in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance; I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need (Philippians 4:11-12) Paul wrote this letter while in prison. You may also remember he came from a life of probably great prosperity, before becoming a Christian, and Apostle. (Acts 9) He was a member of the highest order of religious Jews of his time, the Pharisees.
It seems to me this is one of the greatest secrets of having a happy life; being content in whatever situation we find ourselves. I do not believe it means we have to be poor, or give up everything we have earned. But being CONTENT does mean we have things to learn and put into practice. Greed and covetousness will always deprive one of being content. Let me refer to the letter Paul wrote to the Colossians.
In the first verse of chapter 3 of this letter, we find this: "If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." (verse 1) " Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth." (verse 2)
He continues teaching how we are to change, as Christians, to be more like our savior, Jesus Christ. Some things we need to "put away in our lives' and some others " we need to put on".
Notice in reading from verse 5 through verse 11 many things Paul warns against, and then in verse 12 through verse 17 those things we need to add to our character of life - as those who have been chosen of God - those who have obeyed the gospel and now called " BELIEVERS,"CHRISTIANS", SAINTS" .
"And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, PUT ON A HEART OF COMPASSION, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against any one; just as the LORD FORGAVE YOU, SO ALSO SHOULD YOU." (Colossians 3:12-13) And then in verse 14, "And beyond these things put on LOVE, WHICH IS THE PERFECT BOND OF UNITY."
We see all around us today in many cases an attitude of division, which is the opposite of being UNIFIED. Anger and hate never bring folks closer together, but has the opposite effect. If we expect to be more like our savior, Jesus, we need to learn (as did Paul) to cultivate the traits that bring us closer, rather than divide. As he mentions lastly in that passage, is to LOVE others--I think you will agree, those things that cause division, such as anger, hate, and such, are not what could be called LOVE. "Jesus said, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
One of the most important things we need to learn is to focus on the spiritual, and not the physical so much. Take time to study and learn from the Bible, and use prayer more in our lives. Then use them in our everyday lives more!! (Colossians 3:2; Romans 8: Philippians 3:19,20; Matthew 16:23).
Jesus speaking to the Apostle Peter in the Matthew 16 reading: "But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting YOUR MIND ON GOD'S INTERESTS, BUT MAN'S." Where are we setting our minds??
Thank you for a bit of your time, please let us all consider how to improve and be more like our Lord and Savior.