I am Content

Words of Grace  

 

Over the past several weeks I have shared words of affirmation that proclaim what the Bible says about you and me, even though we often forget or don’t understand these truths. I want to push a little beyond that in these posts to address the emotions and feelings we are supposed to enjoy, even while we struggle with them.  Last week I wrote about being confident even though we don’t feel confident. I mentioned the disconnect between our reality and our emotions.

When the Lord tells us to move in confidence, but we don’t feel confident, what is happening? The flesh is speaking up against the move of the Spirit. The old ways we learned to live apart from the Lord assert themselves against the reality the Spirit has created in our lives. Some people think this is two natures battling within them, but it is simply our emotions slipping into the default mode of what we have lived for so long.

Here’s another one: be content, the Spirit says. You know the verse. Hebrews 13:5, “be content with such things as you have.” Easier said than done, right?

When the Spirit calls me to a certain emotion or attitude, He is not telling me to create that attitude in my heart. He is telling me to live according to the attitude which is already present in my heart. Being content is already a part of me because I am in Christ and Christ is in me. I have all I need in Him. I need nothing more than Him. The Spirit is simply calling me to live in the satisfaction and contentment that are already mine.

The flesh, on the other hand, is never really content. It needs affirmation and never finds real satisfaction. Have you noticed how the things of this world never satisfy? You need a new car, you think. You become so discontent with your old one. More and more your flesh longs for a new one. Then, when you get it, your flesh begins to need something else. It never gets enough.

Understand that the flesh is simply the old way of thinking. It is not you. The flesh is fading away as you learn to walk in the Spirit. But there are many things to unlearn, and a process of transformation that will take some time. The Scripture refers to this process (Romans 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18). It is simply learning to walk according to the Spirit now that we no longer walk according to the flesh (Romans 8).

So you—the you that Jesus knows, the you that will live eternally, the you that is real and complete and right—you are content. There is no other you. But you don’t fully know yourself yet. You are being transformed in your thinking so that you are beginning to conform, in your thinking, to the reality Jesus has given you.

Wow! If that makes sense, you can see how freeing it is. We are becoming who we are. So you and I can say:

 

I am content.

Jesus is enough for me.

He is the source of all blessing and good in my life.

Jesus is with me always.

I am content.

9 Comments

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9 responses to “I am Content

  1. UnForsaken

    This is a hard one to describe, but you have done it. I’m going to be reading this over several more times.

    When some of us discover we have been lied to or have been lying to ourselves, there is a good kind of discontent feeling. It is a feeling that tells us we need to be looking to God for satisfaction instead of the malnourishing things that have taken His place. I remember the dichotomy of the contrasting content/discontent when first seeing my codependency. It was a discontent with the evil that I had let block my view of His will. But He made me more at peace with what He had for me, even as I puzzled it all out. Feelings can be so confusing but it is worth it to think about them, to know if they are the flesh or guidance from Him!

    Thanks for helping me see these truths in a new light, Pastor Dave!

    • I’m definitely experiencing this transformation now.

      I feel like I’ve been brought out of Egypt, but now I’m in the wilderness. How will it all work? There are logistics and financial issues. There’s still some grief over what was and what wasn’t. There’s pain to process. There’s a lot of uncertainty. But still: I’m not in Egypt any longer. I can breathe free in the desert, and God is really with me.
      Grocery shopping on half the money I’m used to spending is, right now, an adventure more than a burden. I have a sense of empowerment that comes from knowing The Lord My God Who Brought Me Out of the House of Bondage. By his mighty hand, I am delivered of the conditions that made me despair even of life itself.

      I am content. I am uncertain about much, but the desert is a beautiful place compared to the previous environment.

      I’m sure at some point, I’ll go back. The flesh will tire of not being able to pay the bills or having to do so much alone, and I will forget that it was always that way and worse before. The old life just may call for me like the taste of garlic did for the Hebrews wandering with only manna to eat. I pray that if that faltering does occur, it is only momentary, because God IS good and faithful and trustworthy, and he loved me enough not to leave me where I was. This deliverance in the material world is so great that it does bring with it a spiritual revival. And I am truly content for the first time in a very long time, years and years.

  2. Penny

    Repol–it is so good to see and read from you again. I have But please don’t go back to Egypt!

    • When I say I am sure that I will go back, I don’t mean to the old situation. I mean, in my heart, I will waver and forget that the desert is more beautiful than the bondage.

      I am out and I’m not going back in reality, in physical form. I’m not. And God keeps giving me little reminders that aren’t truly dangerous but just obvious: All the small-scale boundary breaking is still going on, so the big stuff, the heart stuff–it hasn’t changed. He still doesn’t get it. But even if he did, the past is great enough to give me issues to process and heal from for at least a decade, maybe more. I won’t enter into any relationship again until I am more healed than I am now, and I don’t see at all how I can heal in that relationship. It was just breached on every side, too deeply, too repetitively. I can’t do it again. Breaking away was the hardest part. Being apart is not nearly as difficult. In fact, it is refreshing, even in its uncertainty.

      I want to live.

      And over the weekend, on two separate occasions, I actually felt the real sensation of happiness.
      Happiness. That which we “devoted Christians” are supposed to exchange for a miserable condition and a clinging to a distant longing that we’ve claimed is the real essence of “joy.”

      • UnForsaken

        You are talking about the Egypt of emotional codependence. After being away from it, it may seem attractive but it also might be even more repulsive as you seek to focus on truth. I remember my surprise at how very different I felt – like a Totally different person – and how both my temptations and my joys changed. It was an inner revolution or volcanic eruption! But it has been worth every min. of self discovery and coming to understand other truths about my God I wouldn’t have seen as that “other person”. That other me had blocked the truth and it all came rushing in…..So amazing! You describe it as Joy – and It Is.

        I’m so proud of you for taking the right steps and sticking to them!!! On those down days when you feel you can’t win, remember our Father is always on the side of right. And you’re still in my prayers!

  3. Actually, I am referring to the Egypt of intense, destructive abuse. But I definitely did respond as a codependent and a boundary-less compliant and now that I can think clearly finally, I can see how I helped it continue and acted in a way that was not honoring God but submitting to evil.
    Thank you for your prayers. It took me a long time, but this site, the courage of many here, your prayers, Dave’s honesty–I finally found the courage to break free. And it is freedom.

  4. Penny

    Repol–this is truly so amazing that I am struggling for words. What a journey and what a privilege to pray for you and to continue to pray. It has encouraged me in ways I am not yet able or ready to share, but I am so grateful for YOU–for your honesty & faithfulness toward God; it was brutal, painful and scary at times, and yet you kept at it, kept your eyes on HIM, and cried out for help in ways that we can all learn from & pursue & trust (in the right forum). I, too, am so thankful of this “safe place” & am speechless in a good way~in a worshipful, thankful way….and so blessed to call you “friend” even tho we may never actually meet in this life. You go, girl. You have shown many it can be done. It MUST be done. So glad you have tasted the freedom that comes with honoring God as He designed it to be! Love you~

    • Penny, sometimes you spoke to me with a loving toughness that I needed to hear. I couldn’t believe it right away–couldn’t believe that I could be worth anything, worth freedom. But in believing that diminishing lie about myself, I was letting evil triumph. God himself declared my value and no one–not an abusive husband, not a narcissistic “friend,” not even myself–has the right or even ability to declare me worth anything less.
      I had to wrestle in my conscience with God about what he really meant marriage to be, and where sanctification is positive and abuse is destructive–and how those two things were NOT the same. I had to have peace with God that even if I couldn’t know with 100% certainty that I was doing the right thing, that his grace was still for me, and when I made that step–stepping out of the “safety” of the appearance of righteousness by staying in the boat of a legal union that we pretended was a marriage, and into the waves of uncertainty to walk to Jesus and depend only on his promise of unshakeable grace for me–it was then that I reached the 100% certainty. I couldn’t know it until I stepped out in faith onto his promises and completely away from any hope that my ACTIONS, my performance, were where the answer lay.

      It’s radically transformative stuff. I am his. Period. I know it now.

      Bless you all, but Penny… Penny, you were instrumental in saving me. Thank you. I love you too.

      • Penny

        tears….joy, and…..tears. I keep hearing the song “Where I belong”: “all i know is I’m not home yet/this is not where I belong/take this world and give me Jesus/this is not where I belong/when the earth shakes/I want to be found in You/and when the light fades/I want to be found in You”. so grateful to belong to Him. Period. 🙂

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