The Contentment Crisis
Teaching Notes #2
Last week we began to talk about an issue that I believe is plaguing individuals and the body of Christ. Again before I pick up with tonight’s teaching where we left off last week, let me remind you that to be content does not mean we are lazy, or not expectant about what God will do, or that we are not desiring more of Him in our lives, or to ever achieve anything else in life. No, no, no. We’re going to unpack what contentment really means and why a lack of it is hurting us all.
Isaiah 55:1-2 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of provision. NIV
What are you truly hungry for? What are you truly thirsting for? TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD….HE IS GOOD….AND HIS GOODNESS SATISFIES ME!
Psalms 107:9 (NIV) “…for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
God will satisfy every thirst that is a thirst for Him. He will satisfy every hunger that is a hunger for Him. HE WILL SATISFY EVERY CRAVING FOR HIM.
We must get our appetites (the flesh) under control. Many are hungry and thirsty for the wrong things and we wonder why we feel so empty.
I’m going to talk food right now, it’s something I know quite a little about because it’s been my addiction.
God satisfies us with good things. Last week I mentioned the truffles I have so enjoyed that someone gave me for Christmas. I still have some left, as I will not eat more than just two or three a week. Weight Watchers has a new thing called the momentum program and it’s simply to teach people about filling foods that are good for you. Things like fiber. Now the fact is, for the same amount of calories that are in a candy bar, I could eat an entire humongous platter of fruit. And fruit is good for me. But often I am craving the wrong thing. The fact is, that huge platter of fruit would satisfy me in fact just a few pieces of fruit would satisfy most people. But the point is, we often eat a candy bar and wonder why we are still hungry. The answer is, we were filling up on the wrong thing.
When I eat the breakfast I am supposed to eat that is good for me, I am not famished an hour later or even two hours later. Yet when I grab two cookies and a coffee and walk out the door I feel like I’m going to faint just two hours later and I’m buzzing my husband’s intercom to say, “what are we doing for lunch?”
My appetite is not satisfied because I was not hungering for the right things. It’s the same spiritually. Until we realize He is what fills us and satisfies, we keep on this perpetual merry go round of searching. We eat our spiritual candy bars and then wonder why we’re still hungry.
I said last week that I was going to say some hard things and last week I talked about people who go into ministry thinking it will satisfy and then being disappointed and unfulfilled. Not to be outdone by last week, let me continue to say a few more hard things…
There are some folks out there going from church to church searching for God knows what, but they are looking for the wrong things and therefore it doesn’t matter if they go to the latest greatest, they will never be satisfied. Until they deal with the issues inside between them and God they will never be happy, for long.
Yes, they will be happy in the beginning. Anything new is a novelty of sorts and you will hear people talk in the beginning about:
Their new church…
Their new boyfriend/girlfriend…
Their new house…
Their new job…
Their new car…
Their new friends…
Their new whatever….
But until a person has learned contentment in Christ, these things have a short contentment shelf life and soon they will be on the hunt again for something else that will satisfy.
NOT GETTING THIS UNDER CONTROL WILL WRECK YOUR LIFE AND YOUR FAMILY!
Illustration: I have a relative who has completely ruined her marriage and family. She was completely in love with her husband and when they married she had never slept with anyone besides him. In the beginning she saw him as the greatest guy in the world. That continued through several years of her marriage but after a few years she began to wonder if she had missed out on something. She would read women’s magazines, and watch various movies or shows about casual sex people were having and it sounded so exciting and fulfilling. She was intrigued about what another man might do for her. Although her husband didn’t mistreat her or be unfaithful to her, she felt maybe she was missing out by only having sex with one man her entire life. So, she cheated on him, not once but several times. This was simply for the experience of sex with another man since she felt there had to be more than what she already knew and wondered, “could another man make me feel different than the one I’m married to?” Unfortunately once she realized sleeping around wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, her husband left her, unable to handle the revelation of her unfaithfulness. She is more miserable and discontented now than ever, her family in ruins. And it all started with, “Hmmmm…I wonder, am I missing out on something?”
Here is the bottom line…
Without contentment we have no rest, no true peace, no true joy. Discontent will eat away at you like a cancer.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV) says, “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”
When we are in need, we can still be content! When we are going through hardships, we can still be content! While we arewaiting for God to answer our prayer…we can still be content, because we are filling up on Him!
Psalms 16:11 “…In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
And I don’t know about you…but I am never out of His presence…we are called to live in His presence…to be praying always, to be living a life of worship always. Therefore, we are always at His right hand….so therefore I can, in all things, be content and receive the fullness of joy every moment of my day.
1 Timothy 1:6-8 – “Godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
Psalm 107:2 – here’s a verse you need to memorize today…this will strengthen your resolve to accept contentment in Christ…
”LET THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD SAY….SO…”
(What does that have to do with being content?)
Whenever the enemy says:
You’ve still got pain in your body…your faith will rise up and say “SO”
You didn’t get that raise you wanted….”SO”
You still haven’t paid off that credit card…”SO”
You still haven’t heard from your prodigal son/daughter… “SO”
You still haven’t sold that property….”SO”
You still have started building a new building…”SO”
I AM REDEEMED…AND IN THAT…I AM CONTENT…
LET THE DEVIL RAGE
LET THE STORMS COME
LET THE WINDS OF ADVERSITY BLOW…I HAVE JUST ONE WORD, AND ONE WORD ONLY TO SAY ...........................SO!!!!!!!!!!
We are serving the great I AM. This is one of the names of God…the great I AM. The Bible says that even his NAME is strong! The NAME of the Lord is a strong tower…the righteous run into it and are safe…
When God says He is "I AM" it means "I AM" whatever you need at any given time.
He says, “I am your salvation…I am your peace…I am your provider…I am your healing…”
IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING!!!
Godliness with contentment brings GREAT GAIN….CONTENTMENT PUTS ME ON THE RECEIVING END!
THE SECRET TO RECEIVING FREELY FROM THE LORD IS CONTENTMENT!
The word of God says, TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD….HE IS GOOD….AND HIS GOODNESS SATISFIES ME!
Something else we need to realize as a huge bonus is that contented Christians have REST.
Matthew 11:28– here’s the greatest “pick up” line Jesus ever used on people - Psalm 46:10 – “Be STILL…and know that I am God…” Hebrews 4:9 declares – “There remains therefore a REST for the people of God…”
28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
There are so few Christians today who really have REST in their souls.
WHO ARE TRULY “AT REST” IN THEIR SOUL!
Rest – refreshed….relaxed…at “ease” in your spirit
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 46:10 – “Be STILL…and know that I am God…”
Hebrews 4:9 declares – “There remains therefore a REST for the people of God…”
What does being at rest mean? Simply being quiet and receiving from the presence of the Lord.
Sometimes we need reminders from others. The other day I was worried about something and I told Michele so and asked her to pray about it and here’s what she told me: “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere.” We need to learn to RELAX and REST. I know it sounds odd that in this new year when we should be taking off like a rocket, I’m preaching about resting. But you know what, admist the rocket, you must rest.
Now, some take that rest to mean, “yep, thanks for that word PD, I’ll be resting on Sunday morning at 10:30.” Hmmmm…a lot of Christians have taken great license with God’s Word and twisted it. It’s interesting to me that many Christians across the nation have missed lots of church and claimed it’s because of family time. No, I’m not talking about that. There are other times besides Sunday morning or Wednesday night that you can rest, and you know it!
But we do need to have times, other times where we rest.
Practice the presence of God…
Practice being still…
Illustration: The other night I got out of my Jacuzzi, put my robe on and sat on my swing. I didn’t have any pressing work to do although my house could have been a bit cleaner, it wasn’t a mess, and my church work was done, and two kids were working and one was in bed. However, after sitting for about ten minutes I felt, “okay I need to hurry and get up from here…” And then I wondered, “why? Why do I need to get up from here?” And I realized, I didn’t need to. So I sat there and practiced being still for about 20 minutes and it was very good for me.
Contented Christians are much less subject to the traps of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the cares of life…because contented Christians have received from the Lord, taken delight I what He has already given, and have cast their cares on Him.
1 Peter 5:7 1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)- Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Is lack of contentment ruining your life?
1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)- Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
Again, this is something to get under control at the beginning of 2009 so you can go into it and truly receive all that God has for you and not continue to chase the wind if you have been doing so. Don’t ruin your future by being discontent with your present.