Contentment in God’s Great and Precious Promises
At the end of 2015, I asked God if there was a word I needed as a banner over my life this year, if there was anything in particular He wanted me to grow in or dwell on. I felt that the word He spoke over me for 2016 was CONTENTMENT. Based on the way the past 6 months have gone so far, I believe that’s exactly the thing I needed to grow in most this year!
We live in a world that is constantly looking for/planning for/begging for the next big thing that will change everything. We love progress. We love upgrades. We love to be in control. But as Christ followers, we are not promised any of these things. We are actually called to lay our lives down in humility and give complete control to God. I really struggle with the reality of that command – it’s hard! Believing that God truly has my best in mind through every trial and circumstance I don’t like is not easy to grasp. But the fact of the matter is simply that it is the truth!
…there is a direct correlation between my level of contentment and what promises I am choosing to believe.
The world loves to offer us false promises all the time… “Take this pill-you’ll lose weight and be skinny, and everyone will like you more!” “You need more money and things to be happy.” “Do whatever makes you feel good.” “There are no consequences for your words, so say whatever you want.” “Your spouse is always busy, so just go find someone else to fulfill your needs.” “You deserve to buy those clothes, even if it’s not in the budget.” …Lies like these surround us daily and can so easily cloud our judgment and perspective as we walk through life.
Although we cannot put stock in empty, worldly promises, we can put stock in God’s “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4). Here are some of His promises from scripture:
- He promises to be near to us and watch over us (Psalm 145)
- He promises to work all things for our good (Romans 8)
- He promises that His will for us is good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12)
- He promises to comfort us in our troubles (2 Corinthians 1)
- He promises to replace our anxieties with peace (Philippians 4)
- He promises us rights to sonship through Christ (John 3)
These are only a few in a list of hundreds of promises of God! When we choose to believe these things, instead of the empty promises of the world, our entire perspective shifts. We begin to see things through the correct lens, and everything begins to take shape in light of the truth.
I’ve been learning that there is a direct correlation between my level of contentment and what promises I am choosing to believe. When I believe that I deserve or need more money, a dog, a child, a house, or a thinner body to be happy or fulfilled, my contentment tank is incredibly low. I begin to choose jealousy, comparison, bitterness, pride, anger, and shame. However, when I am actively believing in the promises and truths of God, I am much more likely to bear good fruit and to be peaceful, joyful, gentle, encouraging, kind, thoughtful, and deeply content.
There is a key distinction between these responses: the first one is all me-centered and completely selfish. In the second one, I am looking outward, beyond myself, and focusing on others. As you evaluate your own reactions and responses to your current circumstances, use this distinction as a practical way to gauge which promises you are choosing to believe. We must remember to believe God’s promises and dwell on the truths of scripture, even when life feels out of control and things aren’t going the way we thought they would.