Monday, July 22, 2013

Cultivate Contentment

Proverbs 14:30 “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones”
I know several people who are currently being affected by cancer.  Some of these people are living with the disease themselves, while others feel the effects because they are watching a loved one fight it.  If you ask any of these people, if they would choose to continue in their current state, or to be healthy, the answer would resoundingly be for good health.  This passage compares jealousy to cancer in the bones, and says that peace is a healthier option for our hearts.  The definition of peace is “freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions”.  Cancer in the bones eats away at the very thing that holds you up, which will eventually make you crumble and fall.  There is no freedom in that. 
Cancer is formed by just one microscopic bad cell.  Often we have no idea that it is within us until it grows so large that we start seeing the symptoms.  Jealousy can be the same way.  It has the ability to create unsettled, bitter people riddled with doubt and insecurity.   On the flip side, true peace comes from God, and peace reigns when I am content.  Contentment, however, does not just present itself to us, rather we have to strive for it and cultivate it. Being content is a choice. Be willing to accept your circumstances no matter what they are, and you might be surprised to find that by nurturing that one microscopic good thought, contentment can be formed.
The dictionary says that contentment is being mentally or emotionally satisfied with the way things are.  Doesn’t that sound good?  Yet, the world teaches us to acquire, accumulate, and achieve beyond our current blessings.  The hard truth is that pining for things beyond what we have is an affront to God, who cares for us with unbridled generosity. Note that the definition doesn’t mention anything material or physical, but instead it focuses on emotions and mental capacities.  The apostle Paul went through times when he had plenty, and times when he had nothing.  He went through times of freedom and he went through times of imprisonment.  He went through times of persecution, and he went through times when he was doing the persecuting.  He talks of how he found contentment in Philippians Chapter 4.  In verse 8, he says to fix your thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  This reinforces the idea that contentment  is an emotional matter.
 We have to make a choice.  Are we going to let that microscopic bad cell of jealousy grow, or are we going to cultivate thoughts that lead to peace and contentment? 
How can I cultivate contentment in my life?
·         Keep my eyes fixed on God
·         Calm and quiet myself
·         Make gratitude for what I’ve been given a number one priority in my day.
·         Give thanks and praise for what I have (it’s a lot when you think about it)
Passages to Ponder:
Psalms 37:7- Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.  Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
Psalms 131:1-Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.
I Thessalonians 5:18- Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Tammy Holtzapfel, and Kim McClure

1 comment:

  1. Something I find Scripture for often :)

    1 Thess 5:16-18 is a favorite. I also like:

    Proverbs 3:5-7
    5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. 7 Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn your back on evil.

    Philippians 4:6
    6 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.