This may be the most challenging message in our Immeasurably More series. [podcast here] It is our faith family’s conviction that if we become grounded in how much God loves, how much He has graced us, and the immeasurably more hope we can find in Him, then we will have a renewed affection for Him, and we will experience lives being transformed.
Our culture has an epidemic of the “disease of discontent” which is also sometimes called the “if only sickness.” If only I had more money. If only I had the right spouse. If only I had the right job. If only I could lose some weight. If only I could get promoted. If only. If only. If only. The bottom line is that you will not experience contentment until you practice submitting everything you have and everything you are to the Father. The parable of the rich man, found in Matthew 19:16, speaks to the “if only sickness” and teaches us how to find true contentment.
The rich man in this story has invested in religion and riches. He thinks that these things will bring about fulfillment and contentment but finds he is still lacking and even directly asks Jesus what is still lacking. Jesus replies that he must sell everything he owns and follow Jesus. Jesus tells him that He will fulfill what is lacking. This man, and all of us, must shovel out of our souls what we are clinging to for contentment and cling to Jesus instead.
None of us like the idea of submission. We must all spend a lifetime learning to submit to the proper authorities in our life and ultimately God. The reality is that joyful submission brings abundant contentment.
Contentment is not found in religion.
So many people invest so much time and energy in serving in the local church. They do it for “good” reasons. However, over time, they may lose sight of right motive for proper service. If we are not careful, we will embrace serving but miss the Savior.
Contentment is not found in riches.
Trying to find contentment in riches and things will not satisfy you. If you are grasping wealth, riches, and resources, God has a way of taking those things away from us to remind us of His power and control.
Contentment is found in release
Your heart’s ability to stand before the Lord and say, “Father, I have tried everything. What do I lack?” and then to willingly and joyfully release what He instructs is the foundation of contentment. Let go of the things you are clinging to for contentment.
Remember that Jesus released his life so that we can release all that we have and all that we are upon Him. We are reminded of this powerful truth in Philipians 2:5-11.
Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Do you find yourself thinking that contentment is circumstantial? We see in Philippians 3:8 that in everything we are commanded to be content.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” (Phillipians 3:8) (emphasis ours)
Contentment is found in relationship.
You came into the world created. With nothing. So what do you need to be content? Isn’t it amazing how much we need to be content? Our hearts are voracious consumers. Any follower of Jesus must resolve daily to redirect his/her heart toward contentment in Christ alone. It is a daily discipline. It doesn’t come naturally. It is only through a love relationship with the Father that we find true contentment.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Think about where this letter to Paul was sent. Philippi. What had happened to Paul there? As Paul’s life demonstrated, his seizure of the knowledge of how to be content enabled him to sing with joy in prisons (Philippi, Acts 16) and survive stonings. He had gone deep. We must get ourselves out of the shallow end of Christianity and we must push ahead to the deep end of Christianity, to finding contentment in Jesus alone.
May we find our contentment in Christ alone. Such deep, abiding confidence and trust in Jesus will enable and release us to commit all of our lives and resources to Him.[Click here for other messages in the series.]