It seems to me that there is no greater example of contentment than this Eritrean Christian lady, who was; arrested, interrogated, imprisoned and tortured for her faith.
When asked how she survived her terrible ordeal, instead of listing all of the crimes that were committed against her during her lengthy stint behind bars, she simply replied that ‘it was a honeymoon with Jesus’.
This dear sister suffered because she refused to renounce her faith, but instead of complaining, she simply chose to be content with her circumstances and saw her time in prison as a chance to commune with Jesus. This lady experienced the joy and peace from true fellowship with our Lord, without the distractions of life.
‘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.’
Paul said that he was content with little or much (Philippians 4:12). Many today are chasing after a 'better life', but the life of a true disciple will flourish when we are content with what the Lord has given us. Anything else than this simple truth means that we are settling for far less than we ought because there is nothing greater in this world than to lose your life in order to find it. True freedom, joy and peace is found in being content with Christ alone.
LEARN TO BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE
Learning to be happy where God desires us to be is a great way to achieve the attitude of contentment. Like the Eritrean Christian lady, we ought to learn to count our blessings and focus on what we do have, rather than what we don’t. Being mindful of this is a great way to learn to be content. Those who are not content may run into trouble and could even end up walking away from their faith.
1 Timothy 6:6-9 'But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.'
WHEN CONTENTMENT IS A BAD THING
Being content is not a good thing if you are content with not walking in God's will, so we know that true godly contentment is only found by walking in God's will, no matter what the circumstance may be. A Christian can end up being discontent when they begin to adopt the world's objectives and goals and forget God's will for their life. Sadly, the modern church not only fails to warn the body of Christ about this, they actually dare to encourage it by focussing on worldly pursuits. When we become a Christian, that search for worldly contentment ought to die and what is birthed is the desire to do God's will and find contentment in Him. Sometimes people can justify the seeking of worldly pleasures as being God's will, but the fruit of their life will begin to testify against this. You may see a breakdown in relationships, friendships, lack of spiritual growth, spiritual decline, lack of peace and joy and even walking away from the faith.
ACCEPT WHAT WE CANNOT CHANGE
As a child, I used to love reading a prayer that was placed on the wall in our bathroom. It’s called the prayer of serenity.
‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’
~ Reinhold Niebuhr
Apostle Paul learned to accept the position he was in after he was jailed. Not only did he still minister to the church through his letters, but he also preached to those around him. In the same way, the Eritrean Christian lady saw her time in jail as a blessing, accepting God's will for her life.
If you are currently suffering from a wilderness experience, I encourage you to think upon ‘whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise …’
You will soon become content with where the Lord has you for now.
-- By Judah Ayling
This article was written to form part of the series, 'Imitate'. Containing 45 sessions, this thorough series intends to reveal the characteristics found in a disciple of Jesus. The original article, 'Imitate', would be the best place to begin your journey in discovering the qualities of a follower of the Messiah of Israel.