Content in God’s Will
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11
Are you content in God’s will? I mean, are you really content in God’s will? After many years as of listening to many brothers and sister in Christ, I was surprised (though I should not have been) that very few are truly, consistently, content. Truth be told, I must also count myself among this discontented number.
This is nothing new. God’ Word clearly says:
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
But what does it mean to be content? Here are some definitions:
From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
Content: Literally, held, contained within limits; hence, quiet; not disturbed; having a mind at peace; easy; satisfied, so as not to repine, object, or oppose.
To satisfy the mind; to make quiet, so as to stop complaint or opposition; to appease; to make easy in any situation; To please or gratify.
Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.
Acquiescence; satisfaction without examination.
From Strong’s Concordance referring to Heb. 13:5, Phil. 4:11:
G714 arkeo – apparently a primary verb (but probably akin to 142 through the idea of raising a barrier); properly, to ward off, i.e. (by implication) to avail (figuratively, be satisfactory):–be content, be enough, suffice, be sufficient.
I’m going to go through the definitions, and as I do so, let us all ask ourselves the ensuing questions.
1. So as not to repine, object, or oppose:
Do I repine, object or oppose what God is doing in my life?
2. To satisfy the mind; to make quiet, so as to stop complaint or opposition; to appease; to make easy in any situation:
Is my mind satisfied that God knows best? Quiet? Do I complain and oppose the Lord? Am I appeased in any situation?
3. To please or gratify:
Am I pleased or gratified in and with God’s plan for my life?
4. Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition:
Is my mind at rest and quiet in God’s will for my life?
5. Satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.
Am I satisfied in Him?
6. Acquiescence; satisfaction without examination:
Do I relinquish full control to Him without even considering that He is fully capable in managing my life? Is He my LORD?
I find one point in the Strong’s definition to be especially poignant. Through the idea of raising a barrier); properly, to ward off, i.e. (by implication) to avail.
Isn’t he saying that being content is like having a barrier of protection around us? That’s what the Word of God says.
We cannot be content without faith in our Lord, and faith means trust. According to the definition of content, and the following verse, being content (trusting the Lord) creates a barrier that wards of Satan’s attacks.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:16
If we truly trust the Lord, we will be content, and thus this barrier of protection is there for us. When we are discontent, we do not trust the Lord and we step away from his shield of protection and Satan can easily attack us and attack us with our own sin!
The following passages really thumped on me:
Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy, But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:5-10
How often do we read the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, their wandering in the desert, their whining and complaining and dare say, If that had been me, I would not have complained, etc. Scholars estimated the number of people who left Egypt was anywhere from 2-6 million, yet only a handful remained true to the Lord. The truth is we most likely would have acted just like the majority!
Ladies, when we are not content with God’s will for our lives, this is SIN! It was sin in Exodus, and it’s still sin now.
When we are not content with what the Lord gives us, here are some (but certainly not all) of the things we are telling Him:
He doesn’t know what is best for us.
He is not all-wise.
He is not fair and is a respecter of persons.
He cannot provide perfect peace and rest
He is not the all sufficiency. II Corinthians 9:8
He is not our rest.
He is not our high tower of protection.
He is not trustworthy
I could easily continue this list, but I think we all get the hint.
Yet does not our Bibles say:
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
Surely, if the Apostle Paul could say this, then we can too!
I cannot fully imagine the pain of each and every instance each and every person may go through, yet I fully know the pain of not being content in God’s will.
We have a God who is faithful to give us abundant life if only we will accept it of Him.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Is it that hard for us to see that we are ALLOWING our joy, our contentment, etc. to be stolen? It’s not Satan’s fault. We allow our joy to be stolen!
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:12,14
It is not sin to be tempted, but it is sin to dwell and follow through on it!
We have a lady in our church that has one child and has miscarried 6 times. It has been very difficult for her, but she just keeps her eyes on the Lord. Not always easy at times, but she tries very hard. I have only ever heard her cry once about this and it was several years ago. The interesting this is she (by her own choice) is often in charge of the baby showers! She has not let her pain hinder her from being a blessing to others.
Sometimes we try to make excuses about the pain we go through and blame the situation for our pain, but the situation is not the problem: we are! It is almost always our own selfishness and commitment to what we want that makes us miserable. The pain is the symptom of the real problem:
God does not have first place.
I suffered “depression” (of my own choice!) for several years, and I can confirm what I have heard so many times: There is only one cure: confessing our sin and fixing the focus of our attention.
Getting our focus off of ourselves and “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 then having our mind set on pleasing the Lord is the only cure.
After reading a particular thread on an ladies Bible message board, and grieving for these ladies (not only for the pain they were going through, but the pain they were willingly putting themselves through) I ran some ideas by some godly ladies whose opinions I value dearly. Here is some of their input. It applies to any situation where discontentment reigns.
Quote: I’ve never been where any of these women have been, but GOD is faithful and He makes NO mistakes. I could have allowed my sister’s death to drive me to depression because it was so painful, and still is at times, but I CHOSE to dwell on The Problem Solver rather than the problem, if you know what I mean!! We do have a choice in the way we think and respond to what God allows in our lives!!
Quote: The biggest need I see in this thread is the “change of focus” as you have put it. They are focusing on their lack and not their abundance. They are focusing on self and not others. They lack the JOY they need because they are misspelling it. The Y is coming before any one or anything else.
DH (who happens to be a veteran missionary and Pastor) said that until they stop stomping their foot at God in this temper tantrum and become genuinely rested in HIS will for them, they will not know happiness or peace and will continue to have bitterness toward those women who are on a different road than they are.
If we could truly grasp what this all means, it would simply boil down to this: When we allow discontentment to take hold, the Lord does not have first place in our lives, our sin does and that’s idolatry! Anything in our lives that takes the preeminence above the Lord is idolatry.
OW! How true for every single one of us!
So how do we conquer this? The same way all sin is conquered:
1. Confess our discontentment, lack of trust, and idolatry.
2. Put our focus back where it needs to be: on the Lord
3. Stop trying to be the co-pilot and let God do the piloting, guiding, steering. He is LORD!
A simple way to maintain a good focus is to let Christ work through us in being a blessing to others. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but isolating oneself from what we perceive the problem to be will not solve it, as it is not the real issue. Soulwinning and good works towards others are a great way to do this.
This comes to mind:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
We had a lady, Dee Dee, visit us a few weeks back. She’s from another IFB church in Vancouver, BC. A friend we know, Cece, was coming out for a few days and asked her if she’d like a ride so Dee Dee could visit her brother dying in the hospital. She had contacted me to see if we could put Dee Dee up in our basement suite that we have set up for out of towners, missionaries, evangelists, etc.
Anyway, we had Dee Dee here for several days. This darling widow lady is 80 yrs. old, hardly ever gets to see her grandchildren or great-grandchildren and was thrilled at the prospect of being in a house with 6 children, especially girls! We all had a wonderful time and Dee Dee even had family devotions with us. She sent us a thank you note after and the main focus was “thank you for letting me be a part of your family”.
I highly recommend adopting an older lady/widow that does not have her family near. Focus on being a blessing to her, or several ladies, if you can.
Another idea is to “adopt” a bus kid (the “fatherless”). We’ve done that and it thrills these young girls who do not have a mom who is involved in their lives, either through divorce, etc. We’ve brought some to the Mother/Daughter banquets, family picnics, etc.
Ladies, I truly hope and pray that this lesson is as much a help to you as it is to me. How easy it is for any of us to get our spiritual eyes out of focus and focus on the circumstances rather than He who controls the circumstances.
I’ll close with a poem I wrote a few years back and the song that came to mind at the time:
My Prayer For His Will
As I lay beside you in your bed,
My heart is so full of concern.
How I want to see you well again –
Is the prayer that within me burns.
To hear you laugh, as only you can do;
To see your precious smile light your face.
Each moment you have been with us,
Is a reminder of my Saviour’s grace.
Though I knew you have a heart condition,
You’ve been so well, I had forgotten.
But seeing you lying there, so frail and weak,
My heart is burdened with overmuch grief.
Your sickness is a clear reminder –
That to us, you do not belong,
But are lent to us from The Master,
And I know He’ll not steer us wrong.
You are our Lord’s, and He knows best.
As He fulfills His perfect will,
In each of our lives, it’s a test,
And we need but to stand still.
Too often we try so hard to control,
The circumstances that come our way.
Then these become a burden to our soul,
As we’ve led ourselves astray.
Dear God, if you choose to call her home –
Though I know my sorrow would be great –
Cause me to see that your grace will uphold me,
Help me, as in your care I commit her fate.
Oh Lord Jesus, may this my prayer be:
“That all in Thee, do I put my trust;
That I not question Your perfect will,
And all that You have planned for us.”
by Angela B. Trenholm
January 9th, 2004
Written as I stayed up to keep watch on Melissa (2 1/2 years old at the time) when she had a high fever that would not go down, at this point, suspecting RSV or pneumonia. Found out the following day that yes, she had pneumonia and an ear infection. The Lord answered our prayers and restored her health!
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9a
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Words: Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907.
Music: Adelaide A. Pollar, George C. Stebbins, Northfield Hymnal
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ‘till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
* * * * * * * *
Are you content in God’s Will?
Published March 30, 2007 | By Angela Trenholm