Growing Contentment

Remember the purpose of Philippians?  To encourage Christians to find Christ centered, Spirit empowered joy in living, serving, sharing and resting.  The theme is summed up with a word Paul repeats often, Rejoice!  You can have a contagious, deep seated joy when you have confidence that Jesus is in full control-not just of the big things, but of the little things as well.  As we have discovered in the first part of chapter 4, such joy can be applied to strained relationships, and difficult circumstances, leaving us worry free.  As you fix your mind on the things that are positive, uplifting, virtuous and excellent, you will become transformed and will have the peace of Christ.  Now, that’s the way to live.  As Paul begins to wrap up this great letter to the Philippians, he explores another realm that could use a healthy dose of real joy:  contentment.  
3 places to look in life that will help me grow in joy and contentment.

  1. Look inside …and let go.

Is there something in your heart that’s stunting your growth?  Something that’s holding you down and keeping you from experiencing true contentment and joyful generosity?  Perhaps it’s a need for comfort rather than contentment or a desire for luxury rather than generosity.  Maybe its an unquestioned sense of entitlement instead of self-sacrificial benevolence.  Do a little internal diagnostic right now.  Ask yourself:  What’s keeping me from experiencing the kind of contentment Paul describes in Philippians 4?  Or what’s keeping me from giving more time and money to the cause of Christ than I do now?
Look inside…and let go of those things.

  1. Look around…and respond.

Sometimes we don’t’ give our time, energy or financial resources because we’re too busy to see the needs.  The Philippians saw Paul’s need from miles away and responded fast, continually and faithfully.  They sent money and personal help.  They didn’t wait for another church to act first.  They saw the need and met it.  Why don’t’ you try it?  There’s no need to start with something extreme like going full time to the mission field. But you can get behind missions through one of our partners, or find a place to plug in right here at home.  In our church…awana.  A family in your neighborhood that’s struggling.  So many ways to live to bless.  
Look around…and respond.

  1. Look to Jesus…and rejoice.

Never forget to take time to look to Jesus and see all that He’s done and is doing and to remember His promises for the future.  Don’t forget to praise Him and thank Him for what He has done specifically in your own life.  Rejoice in the many good things He has given you and done for you, remembering every good and perfect gift comes from Him.  As Paul did with the Philippians, rejoice over the good things God accomplishes daily in the lives of others, and thank Him.  Jesus loves to hear your words of gratitude and your expressions of joy.
I think about it like this.  This past week, #’s 4 and 5 were playing in the living room, I was there in a chair watching them and enjoying their conversation as they played.  Out of the blue, # 5 jumps up, lays his toy down comes running over to me with a giant smile, kisses my arm and says, Daddy, I love you.  Then he went back to playing.  

Will you take some time to look to Jesus and follow #5’s example to out of the blue rejoice in Him.  Take a moment right now and rejoice in Jesus by thanking Him for three things He has done or is doing in your life.
Pastor Chris Williams
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