I Can Do All Things

We often confuse contentment with complacency. Random House says that complacency is “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.” Biblical contentment is being “sufficient for oneself; independent of external circumstances; contented with one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest.”

Paul wrote, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

Contentment is not the opposite of drive. True spiritual contentment will not cause us to be complacent; it will actually be a catalyst to spur us forward.

Pastor Shannon O’Dell recently wrote Transforming Church in Rural America. In it, he states that “Leadership is resisting the urge to settle.” It would be good to broaden that a little bit and say that “Living is resisting the urge to settle.” When we are content, that shapes us into believing that we can do all things through Jesus who strengthens us. That will truly free us to live.

When we allow success, appearance, some activity, or happiness to be the gauge of our inner peace, then we will never have contentment and will never be able to accomplish anything of any significance because we will be too cowardly and afraid.

We need to understand that which Joseph understood at the end of the book of Genesis. We are left with this thought:

‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” [Genesis 50:20 (ESV)].

When you feel that you have hit rock bottom, realize that God will use this for good.  If Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, imprisoned, and had to endure captivity before seeing better days, could recognize that good came from the bad, then we need to keep that in focus when we are going through our valleys.  This pit will eventually be good for us; we just don't have that full perspective yet.

I once heard the story of a man who was contemplating committing suicide. But instead of killing himself, he decided to smuggle Bibles into China. If he was caught and killed, that would be fine with him. But instead, through the process, he found meaning in his life.

I don’t know if that story is true or not, but it illustrates the point that we truly live when we die to ourselves and begin to live our lives for Jesus. We can get out of the situation we find ourselves in, but you are the only person who can pick up the shards of your dreams and go with them into the future. You are the only one that can surrender your will to God’s will. You are the only one that can say, “I will look for what God wants me to learn in every situation.” In that, you will find true contentment and meaning in life.

May we build our lives on the rock, Jesus Christ.