I would like to continue sharing with you about our struggle for joy in the Christian life. Yesterday we learned that Christians often lose their first love and do many things out duty and not delight. We still have good theology and do many good deeds, but our heart is not in tune with God’s. Today, and in the next few days, I would like to talk to you about the reasons we lose our joy in our Christian walk; more specifically, the sins that linger hidden in our lives that rob us of the joy God wants us to have. The first sin that robs our joy is LACK OF CONTENTMENT with what the Lord has for us.
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 all this through him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:12–13)
What does the text mean?
Verse 13 is probably the most misused, misinterpreted and misquoted verse of the entire Bible. It is used by many as a sort of magical formula to accomplish whatever task the person may have at hand. However, Paul had something very specific in mind when he said he could do all things in the strength of Christ. He tells us that in the course of his life, he had encountered many challenges. He had suffered need such as hunger, cold and nakedness, but there had also been other times when he was filled with plenty and had all his needs abundantly covered. He then mentioned that the secret to all of it is contentment; to trust the Lord that the circumstances in which he has you are what you need for your growth and for his glory. Contentment is only achieved by the strength that he provides, which is the point of verse 13. It is not something you can do on your own, because left to ourselves, we will look around and desire other things and circumstances than what we have. When we do not trust in the strength that Christ provides, we begin to complain and be ungrateful with God.
Brothers and sister, Christians often lose their joy because they are not content, they do not believe that God knows better than they do and thus they think they deserve better than what they have. That is why, when we lose contentment, we give way to at least three other sins in our lives: jealousy, lack of gratitude and lack of trust in God’s sovereignty. In other words, being discontent with what we have, piles up many other sins that creep into our lives and rob us of our joy in him, but the strength that Christ gives is the strength to be content in whatever the Lord has for you. Nonetheless, you must understand that contentment is not a hopeless resignation that we accept reluctantly as part of our fate, but it is a an absolute trust in the sovereign and loving will of our master who knows what is best for us.
What does it mean to me?
Dear brethren, lack of contentment is one of those sins that we usually entertain. We let it come in, we give it a nice comfortable place in our hearts, and constantly feed it so that it grows bigger and bigger. Sadly, it also brings his fiends ungratefulness, envy and doubt with him and they all rob us of our joy in Christ. Discontent tells you that your present suffering means that God has forgotten about you. Discontent tells you that you deserve a better financial status than what you currently have. Discontent makes you compare yourself to others and be envious of what others possess. Discontent makes you be angry when others are blessed. Discontent makes you bitter, sad, angry and discouraged. However, God wants you to have the same mind that was in Paul. He wants you to trust him in whatever circumstance you may find yourself, that you would get a hold of his strength to defeat the sin of lack of contentment and that you would trust in the sovereign Lord. Remember that he said, “he will never leave you, nor forsake you”. God also tells us in 1 Tim. 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain”.
What should we then do? How do we find contentment? Matthew 6:33 has the answer: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. Dear friends, do not let this sin have room in your heart. Get rid of it today; get him and his friends out of your heart before they still the little joy you may have left in your heart. Do it today, don’t wait. May the strength and grace of the Lord be with you.
God bless you all