Each year, I have been making it my goal to write a New Year word: usually a word that sums up the year gone by, or something that I'm still wrestling with and feel will continue to be something the Lord is teaching me well into the next year. Today I thought I would share with you the word I wrote down: contentment (or arkeo in Greek).
Looking up it's original meaning, these are some definitions I found:
Arkeo - to be content, satisfied, to be sufficent. To ward off; thence; to be of service, avail; to suffice, be enough. To be possessed of unfailing strength, to be strong, to defend...
I want to challenge you today to examine yourself in light of this word: is the Lord truly enough for you? Were all your hopes, desires, plans and ambitions to fail would you still be able to rest in the knowledge that He is sufficent, that He is enough? When trials come and you fall into despair thinking nothing is fair, will you still be able to have and exude a joy and peace, a contentment that shows the world where your hope is founded? In all honesty, I can say that this is something the Lord is teaching me, and where I often fail! Whether times are good or bad, we need to be able to rest in our Saviour's loving arms and know that He is soverign, working out all things together for our good and His glory, and thus we can and should be content. Maybe your suffering comes in the form of a desired job you never got, a relationship that never came to fruition, a sudden illness or even death in the family, seperation from loved ones, friendships that are lost, a prolonged period of singleness... the list is endless, and I'm sure in your mind you could add to it your own situation. Whatever the case, even during these trials, can your confidence and contentment be founded in your Lord and Saviour? Looking up scripture on this subject, I came across some wonderful passages:
"...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strenthens me." ~ Philippians 4:11-13
It strikes me that we often here the last line of this passage quoted and yet how often we neglect the glorious words imediately proceeding it! God does strengthen us, but how amazing it is that He does this so that we can be content no matter what happens! We, as Christians, don't need to fear for He is near!
"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-10
"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'" ~ Hebrews 13: 5-6
These two passages show us clearly that ultimately we have what is far greater than worldly riches: if the world says contentment is found in money, a career, a spouse, family... we are not to believe it. Rather, it ultimately comes from our Saviour. We must guard against these things, good though they may be be, becoming an idol and stripping us of our contentment that ought only to be founded upon Him. Neither should we fear our fellow men as the Lord is soverign even over them.
Anyway, I feel I've prattled on for long enough! :P These are merely my ponderings on the subject, so as always, go back to scripture dear readers!