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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Deception of Contentment

2 Corinthians 6:11
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.

Often we are led to receive Jesus through total discontent with what the world can offer. Most of us have explored the possibilities of where we can go, what we can do or who we could try to become but we come to a place where none of it is appealing. We become discontented with what we know life to be and with what we have in this life, no matter how “good” we might have it at the time. Sometimes this discontentment can be a shocking discovery. After all, don’t we have it all in this wealthy place? Well meaning people are always reminding us of how well off we are and urging us to be more grateful for what we have. So as an unbeliever, the voice of discontent can sound like ingratitude.
If a person is able to come to be totally discontented with what he can get from the world, it is good to examine exactly what it is he wants rather than write it off as general ingratitude. God means for us to give in to this unhappiness; lie down and cry like babies and say we hate our lives. It is in the midst of this life hating that we will search out our options. People do not deserve to be happy but we certainly do pursue it. We may as well pursue it where it can actually be gained – in the heart of God with Jesus Christ.

When we give our lives to God in Jesus, we give way under the weight of dissatisfaction with our lives. We are telling God, “You can have my life, I do not want it but I want the life of Jesus Christ instead.” When we lay our lives down at the feet of Jesus, we trust that His work is enough to qualify us for a relationship with the Father. When we repent and turn to God in Jesus, we immediately receive the life of the Son. There is an exchange; the life of Christ for the lives of us who receive Him. From that point on, God works in us through His Spirit to make us able to keep our end of the deal.

Our ability to be faithful to our part is contingent on our believing that God has been faithful to His. This believing is the free gift of faith. We enter in to the deal by faith.

There are times in a Christian’s life when we will find that we are drawn again into discontent. Many, if not most, come to feel a little disappointed in what began as such a happy journey. They wonder what happened to the beginning joy in finding Jesus and come to feel that the honeymoon is over and that they should be happy with all that God has done for them. After all, if a person is going to heaven, what more could they want? So as a believer, the voice of discontent can sound like ingratitude.

Christian, the devil wants you think that what you have now in terms of your relationship with Jesus is all you can have. It is a lie. Frankly, it is a lie believed just as readily by those who profess to follow Jesus as by those who do not know Him. As Christians, we easily accept the twisted truth of self sacrifice to mean that we are not to pursue happiness and joy and that if we are unhappy we should just pretend we are. We are Christians, we should be happy; therefore we should not complain but make ourselves happy with what we have. Right? We play into the enemy’s plans when we convince ourselves, out of guilt, that so long as we have a relatively peaceful life and an occasional glimpse of God’s glory, all is well. Scripture tells a different story.

Just as when we were first saved, we must be brought to kneel under our discontent and confess that we need and want much, much more. The 80% world and 20% Jesus life is not going to work to keep us alive and going in the calling God has placed on us. This life looks like reality and sanity but it is a mockery of the real life Jesus promises those who believe Him. The devil wants you to be content with keeping a “safe” balance on one hand and periodically touching the robe of the Master with the other.

Do you see yourself standing outside the doorway while Jesus is throwing a party inside? You also are invited. Regardless of how long you have been moping or if you have just arrived; He wants you to join Him in the fullness of His joy. He is not making it difficult for you. Ask Him to loosen your affections for Him and to help you see the lies of the enemy for what they are, most prominent among them is: Be Content.

Your power to give your life to God is in believing you have His life in you. It is a free gift that cannot be taken back or returned. It is faith. We continue and close the deal by faith.

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About Me

I met Jesus in March 1997 and soon after I began the practice of writing things down that were happening in my life with the Lord. Over the years, in the rare times that I have looked back into older journals, I have found that the things the Lord was showing me then are the same things He is showing me now. This does not make them less helpful, on the contrary, it makes them more helpful. God is exactly who He says He is and is doing all that He said He would. We need to be reminded of God and His faithfulness. The intention of this blog is to encourage God's people to continue and to grow in their confidence in Jesus Christ. The things posted here are from my journal and are meant to be an example of God's love and help as He loves and helps me. I would expect that you would have reason to trust Jesus Christ with your life (and death) if you haven't heard about Him so I invite you to go to my page "About Jesus" to see why you can and should have every confidence in Jesus and Jesus only for all things.