Wednesday, April 3, 2013
CULTIVATING CONTENTMENT IN CHRIST -- PART 4
Someone has said, “Remembrance is the hallmark of gratitude.” Gratitude is the back bone of contentment. It is profitable to look back and consider what the Lord has done for us. We were slaves of sin and under the curse of God. But God, who is rich in mercy loved us even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, saved us by His amazing grace. The days of our first love were delightfully exuberating. Our blood-bought hearts basked in God’s love. We were cleansed and made pure for the Master and we indulged in that. In fact, it was such a delightful experience that we could not keep quiet. Others just had to hear. Perhaps your zeal has declined, perhaps your joy has faded, perhaps your prospects have overcome you. You are discontented. Of course! That is to be expected! God’s Word gives us answers to finding peace and contentment.
In Hebrews 10:32-39 God counterbalances our dilemma with grave warnings. Our new-found faith gives us new joy and anticipation. We recall those precious former days when we were illuminated to such a degree that in the midst of great struggles and sufferings we didn’t “cave in.” We sang, “O God, our help in ages past, our hope in years to come. Our shelter in the stormy blast, and our eternal home.” God has not changed.
Let’s take a look at Psalm 37:5-7, as I said we would do in our last session. “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him . . . wait patiently for Him . . . Do not fret.” That is a BIG chunk when we are in the middle of the muddle! First of all, God advises us and reassures us in the powerful words of verse 4. “ Delight yourself in the Lord.” The battle is not yours, but God’s. Don’t attempt to figure or fight. He will take care of you and do for you what you can’t do for yourself, even if you try. On top of all those care packages He still has more. He looks inside and gives you“the desires of your heart.” Assurance! Take God at His word! What an awesome God is He. “Immortal, invisible, God only wise.”
We would do well to flesh out verses 5-7.When you are slandered, misjudged, falsely accused, misunderstood, or misquoted, commit the entire matter to the Lord. Roll the weight onto Him. Let Him act in your behalf. Leave it there. So trust. Now, having done the above, rest in Him.
Since He is carrying your burden, it is not necessary for you to bear it also. That is exactly what we too often do. We take our burden back. How foolish! It is God’s will that you should cast on Him your every care. He also bids you not to cast your confidence away. But oh, we are so foolish when taken unawares. We cast away our confidence and carry all our cares. Verse 8 tells us not to fret because it only causes harm. Health advisors list the devastating effects that worry, fear, anger, and such have on our bodies. The Lord tells us what they will do to our hearts, minds, and souls. God has the remedy (Philippians 4:6). Read it, pray, ask, be thankful. He gives peace.
Did you note the one more pearl that we must add to our string of contentment? Wait.There’s more. Wait patiently. More. Wait patiently for Him. Yes. Waiting is the thing we find hardest to do. Waiting is the thing we do least. God has a time table that will precisely fit not only our need, but will importantly accomplish His purpose in us and for us. Note that our resources, as believers, are in the Lord. “Trust in the Lord (v.3). Delight in the Lord (v. 4). Commit your way to the Lord (v.5) Rest in the Lord (v.7a). Wait patiently for Him (v.7b).”
(to be continued)