Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

Ephesians 4:10-13~

"I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.   I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I can do all things through him who gives me strength."

If I get this new job, then I’ll be happy.  When my husband starts trying harder our marriage will be good.  If we move to a bigger home, then things will be great.  If we only had a ladies Bible study, mens breakfast, youth group, etc., then church will be wonderful.

We find all kinds of ways to be discontent, don’t we?  We gripe and complain our way through most of our days, and to be honest, most of our lives.  We look at everything and everyone else to blame for our lack of contentment.  I fall into that trap, and I’m pretty sure you do it also.

How does one have contentment no matter the circumstances?  Look at the life of Paul - imprisonment, beatings, shipwrecks, and suspicion of fellow believers, hatred of enemies, hunger and thirst. Yet he can boldly state that he is content. Paul found the secret that we all need!

The thing that leads to contentment is the belief that I can do anything through Christ. He is my strength. If I do it in my own strength, I will fail. If I do it to please someone else, I will fail. If do it through Christ, I will succeed!

That means I can face illness or financial hardship.  I can deal with an unbelieving spouse or children.  I can handle living in a small, cramped house or trailer.  I can deal with a small crowd at church or a large one. 

Contentment is achieved by taking my eyes off the circumstances and putting them on Christ.  If I find myself complaining constantly or being negative, all that means is that I’ve shifted focus.  My eyes are back on the perceived problem and not on the Lord.  I need to stop trying to play God and allow God to do the work.

As you seek to grow in Christ, and to become more like Him, spend time every day in His word and prayer.  As you focus on Him, contentment takes over.

As you go about your day today, remember that you can do or face anything as long as you keep your eyes on Him and face the day with His strength!