Grace and peace be unto you.
A Word of Encouragement…
I recall attending college over decades ago and I could not wait to graduate, even though God had inspired me to attend the institution and enroll in the program. There were days when I was worried about tuition, other times I was irritable because I was focusing on my plans after graduation. In retrospect, I did not utilize the opportunities to enjoy my life, as a result, I missed out on being content. Since then, similar to the Apostle Paul “…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation …” (Philippians 4:12).
Contentment is defined as enjoying one’s life regardless of the circumstances. It is having hope when we are in the valley and showing humility when we are on the mountain. There are at least four ways to achieve contentment:
There are some problems that you have the ability and resources to solve while others are beyond your reach. God expects you to manage the easy problems and trust him to solve the difficult ones. Therefore, you are to give God your concerns. When we give our concerns to God and trust him to take care of them, we have nothing to worry about. And so, we can spend our time joyfully completing our daily tasks and divine assignments. Does this mean that we will forget about our problems? “No.” Occasionally, they will cross our mind which gives us the opportunity to affirm our faith in Christ. Instead of trying to find a solution or having a pity party, we could say, “Lord, I know you have taken care of this problem and I thank you,” or “You promise to meet my needs, I humbly wait in expectation” (Philippians 4:19; Psalm 130:5).
2. Acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit, your helper (John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit helps us to live a godly life. Contentment is essential to a godly life, hence the Holy Spirit will help us to be content but we must ask for his help. For example, on one occasion, I gave my concerns to Jesus. Several months later they popped up in my mind and I felt overwhelmed. At that moment, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me affirm my faith in Christ and he did. When we ask the Holy Spirit for help, he always assists.
Wholehearted submission to God indicates that we give him our desires and plans, while taking on his plan. In such situation, everything that happens to us is in God’s plan. For example, Joseph was thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, incarcerated, and promoted to Vizier of Egypt (Genesis 37-41). All of his pleasant and unpleasant experiences were apart of God’s plan. Contentment is directly aligned with God’s plan. When you are confident that God is guiding your life, you worry about nothing, you trust him completely, and you rest in his love.
4. Focus on the present, not the past or the future (Philippians 3:13).
The Bible says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus’s work with us is done in the present and miracles happen in the here and now. When we are not mentally present two things are likely to happen. Firstly, we will miss opportunities that enhance our happiness. Secondly, we will be dissatisfied.
Preoccupation with the past and future contributes to anxiety and stress which prevents us from enjoying the present. We cannot undo the past and the future is in God’s hands. Jesus wants us to accept our past, embrace the lessons learned, and trust him with our future. This approach will help us to focus on the present and enable us to make the most of every opportunity. Most importantly, we will pay special attention to God’s plan. His plan involves prayer, praise, Bible study, meditation, and listening to him.