Wednesday, December 18, 2013

journey to contentment

I have been ask several times to share my notes on contentment from the lessons that I will be teaching in Sunday School for the next several weeks.  I will attempt to do that here on a weekly basis but please don't hold me to it as I lead a very busy life and blogging, although I would love to be good at it, is not on my priority list at this time.  I do however wish to share what the Lord is showing me through this study. Please be patient as I do not often teach from notes so they may seem to have a "hole" here and there.  That is where I am talking without notes.

Let me start out by saying that is wasn't but a day or two into this study that I started to listen to what was going on around me and also to the words I speak myself.  One morning the first thing out of the mouth of one of my children was, "It sure is cold in here".  That was the truth as our only source of heat at that time was the wood stove and no one had gotten up to fill it in the night. Yes, it was cold in here.  But if the truth be known, it was really warm in here compared to outside!  So it was warm too!  Thus began my study of just how can we become content like the Bible states contentment as being great gain.  What are the secrets?
I have always thought of myself as a very content person.  I don't ask for things because I think I have enough things.  I don't desire to live anywhere else because I think that God has placed our family where He wants us so no reason to complain there.  If He ever desires for us to move, I am sure He will move us.  I don't want a different vehicle or a different house as I feel like God has given me what I have and I am satisfied.  Having said all that, I am learning so much through this study.  It is shedding light on contentment in a different way for me.  So come along as I journey through some touchy areas of our lives where contentment is so needed.  Learn with me.

Contentment ~ Lesson 1

Contentment…just what is contentment? 

On the first page of your notebook you will find two of that same question.  I want you to quickly write there in the first blank space, your answer to that question.  At the end of class today, I want you to go back and write your answer to that statement after we have gone over the lesson and see if there is a change when you compare the two.

The word contentment is only found one time in the Bible in I Timothy 6:6 where Paul is teaching to Timothy.

1Ti 6:6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1Ti 6:7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1Ti 6:8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

The word content is found in 16 different places. 

Contentment ~

Webster’s ~ The act of being content; a resting or satisfaction of mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace so as not to object or oppose; restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire. The state of being satisfied.

Strongs ~ ow-tar'-ki-ah
From G842; self satisfaction, that is, (abstractly) contentedness, or (concretely) a competence: - contentment, sufficiency.

Having said that, think with me for a moment, if that is the meaning of contentment, what is the meaning of discontentment?

Webster’s ~ a sense of grievance :  dissatisfaction; restless aspiration for improvement

Hummm… that sounds like us sometimes doesn’t it.

Paul said it all when he wrote Phil 4:11-13
Php 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Php 4:12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Php 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which           strengtheneth me.

A quick look at Paul’s life reveals how amazing these verses really are.  He wrote this while in prison where there was no sanitation, no heat or any of the things that our modern prisons have. Paul had an extremely difficult life.
At all times and through all circumstances, God is able and willing to provide the strength that we need to be content.
Just how does God enable us to become content? 

Let me use the analogy of a tea cup to explain how it is done.

Tea Cup Analogy ~

God has lovingly assigned each of us to be a uniquely special teacup.  Perhaps we are an antique cup, painted with dainty roses set in gold.  Maybe we see ourselves as an everyday cup – useful, but a little chipped around the edges.  Or we could be a heavy-duty mug – rugged, unbreakable, and able to hold much.  Then God fills our cup with our portion, what He determines best.  Our portion is our physical and emotional being, our abilities, circumstances, roles and relationships.  Sometimes we don’t  like what’s been poured into our cup.  Remember the Lord in the garden of Gethsemane?  When He saw the suffering He was about to endure, He pleaded, 
Luk 22:42  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  
With that being said He lifted his cup to God and accepted what had been poured into it.  Every cup, whether dainty china or rough-hewn pottery has a handle.  God has placed our portion in our cup.  We will either choose to grasp it by the handle and lift it to Him, saying “I accept my protion, I accept this cup” or we will choose to smash our cup thus saying to God that we refuse our portion.  This cup is not the right size for me and I don’t like what has been put in my cup, I will control my life myself.”

Contentment is accepting God’s soverign control over all of life’s circumstances.

In the middle of this lesson, I gave each lady a contentment wheel which had been designed to help them see the areas they are least content in.  I am going to paste the wheel below with the instructions.  If you would like to see where you are the least content and begin to work on those areas, go ahead, copy it and do it.  It might surprise you where you are the most and least content.  When you are done, thank God for the areas where your are content and set out to do whatever it takes to make those other areas better.

This is what your wheel should look like when you are done.  How well will your wheel roll?

Memory verses to work on:
Memory verses to work on : Phillipians 4:11-13

Thank you for coming to visit me here this week.  Come back next week and see what we have to share about being content with our circumstances.