Why is contentment so rare in human creatures? It seems that the status quo, even for God’s children, is brokenness. This condition is becoming more and more acceptable as a means of relating to others.
We can all agree that we live in a world of oppression. The world is really not a fit place to live, but we, as God’s people have a directive. God set the mandate for us before time began. (Ephesians 1:4) I heard recently, “We are a distinctive people.” But, this is not a new statement. This is the Biblical perspective for the Christian church.
God, our heavenly Father is the authority of His kingdom. He rules in holiness, in love, and grace in the lives of His people. By His power He has birthed a family for Himself, growing us and conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ, His Son, who is the first of many brethren. (Romans 8:29)
He came in Jesus to work in us a new life, compatible with Himself. He is teaching us here what His kingdom is like, training us for eternity with Him. By His authority He commands us by His Word what is expected in His kingdom. We will look at four of these in this post ~ those that begin with what we are to “BE.”
We began this series by describing Contentment as a supernatural state of “being.” We will add here that it is part of the legacy of God’s kingdom.
“Being” a joint-heir with Christ has many components. Each part is derived from the same source of God’s grace. The authority that commands us to “BE” is the source that works each part in us. All characteristics of the Christian life are distinctive in that they are beyond our natural abilities. Andrew Murray states in Waiting on God, “what He commands is a promise of what He will do.”
We will look at His commands to “be holy,” “be glad,” “be still,” and “be content.”
We will see how Contentment fits and flows from holiness, gladness, and stillness, and why He commands these for His people.
We begin in the Old Testament in Leviticus to see God’s separation of a people for Himself, then in the New Testament the repetition in 1 Peter to those who are separated and made holy in Christ.
In Leviticus 11:44-45 and Leviticus 20:7 we see that He has brought the Israelites out of bondage. He separated them from the land of Egypt, “to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” He is holy, and makes His people holy.
In 1 Peter 1:13-16 he quotes the same command to God’s people in our day. This section of Peter’s letter is titled, “Called to be holy.” Please read this part of his letter to the Jewish Christians. What I find interesting in both the Old and New covenants is the statement, “You shall be holy.” In agreement, we consecrate ourselves, with the mind-set that He will do the work in us. (See also 1 Peter 3:15)
Psalm 32:11 is the last verse of the Psalm that begins with the word “Blessed.” I will not take away from your gladness by telling you what is in this Psalm. If you are serious about living a contented life you must read Psalm 32 for yourself. Reading the whole Psalm gives us the understanding of why we are to “be glad.” I would suggest reading it every day for a month and see what happens. Perhaps you will establish The Glad Rule in your home.
Psalm 32 and Psalm 46 are short Psalms, but packed with the context from which we find memorable verses. Psalm 46 begins with, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” Reading this Psalm to verse 10 gives us understanding of why He instructs us to “Be still.”
If we have done our homework through the first three subjects of “being,” we will come to a better understanding of this distinctive of Contentment.
The writer of Hebrews 13:5, like Peter, quotes from the Old Testament (Joshua 1:5).
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
From the first statement of God’s authority in our Contentment, “I am your God” to “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” we have the reason for our Contentment. When we know Him, He will be our Contentment, here and for eternity. Contentment is wrapped up in His written word and His Living Word, Jesus Christ as He works it in us.
Three things we need to remember that carry through this series.
- Divine Contentment is supernatural, possible only for God’s people.
- It is the result of relationship between God our heavenly Father and His children.
- He will teach us and show us what He is doing in us.
The training in the distinctive of the Christian is a life-long process that fits us for Heaven and eternity with our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
This world is not just a wilderness, and a battleground of brokenness, but the place that our heavenly Father proves His authorship, power, victory, and majesty through the lives of His people.
Gracious Father, we praise you that you have chosen a people to be holy unto you, a distinctive family that you are training to be your image-bearers. Fill us with your Holy Spirit to do the work that you command and promise for us as your children. Give the world a different image of your kingdom as we love and reach out to those who are in adversity with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His name I pray. Amen.