At this ‘most wonderful time of the year’, America is marked by extreme consumerism and materialism. But is that who we really are? American is noted around the world as being gluttonous at Christmas, but is that who we really are? The pundits say that we all spend much more than we can afford at this time of year, but is that who we really are?
When Lloyd and I were young parents and young marrieds, our resources were almost nothing (they are not much more now, but we know how to manage better!) – when Christmas came, we would buy our children so many presents that you almost couldn’t see the bottom of the tree; it was ridiculous! One year when the kids were 3, 7 and 11 we realized that they could care less about the gifts after just a few days. They were quite content with the one favorite toy AND with being together AND being doted on by their parents.
As Christ followers we are that same way. Our souls are truly satisfied in communion with our King, but our flesh deceives us into thinking that we must have more than that. We fill our lives with the comforts of this world – a bigger house than we need; a car with bells and whistles we’ll never use; people that make us feel important; relationships that help us pretend we’re not lonely; positions that make us feel meaningful — and yet at the end of the day, when we lay on the pillow – we find we are still in discontent.
Our enemy, the Devil, wants us to believe that we have to have it all! Well, the truth is – we do have it ALL! As followers of Christ, we are adopted into the family of God; we are joint heirs with Christ; we have the indwelling Holy Spirit of Promise within us! I would say we have all that ‘and a bag of chips’! We have it all! We have given Lordship of our lives over to a benevolent and loving King who ensures that we have all that we need and much of what we want. He only asks that we love Him and be devoted to serve Him. And truly, if you really think about it, when we are living in service to Him we tend to be quite contented.
Yes! It is good to want your circumstance to improve, but it is a powerful thing to know that just living according to His will for you will cause your heart to be content. Things will go out of style; beauty fades; people fail you; situations change — but God, He remains the same!
Paul challenges us to be content no matter the situation, and encourages us that God will give us the strength to walk in this contentment; Jesus admonishes us to seek God’s kingdom and rest in knowing that God will provide all other things that we seek; In Hebrews we are reminded that He is ours and will not leave us or forsake us; in Romans we are reminded that He will work our circumstances out for our good and His glory.
As the year ends many of our most popular print media outlets remind us of notable people that we lost during the year; the most notable people of the year; the most beautiful people of the year; the worst people of the year; etc. I watch as people read the magazines in the check out line (trying not to act interested); and they are captivated by the lives of these success stories; and success stories gone wrong! But my eye catches the front cover of one of the magazines – and I begin to wonder if these stars/celebrities/notables are happy and satisfied in their lives. I wonder if they, with all that they do have, have the One thing that matters in life. I wonder if who we see, who they allow us to see, is who they really are.
Do not be deceived! It is not riches or popularity that will satisfy your need to feel fulfilled or your need to feel that your life has value. Satisfaction will come when you decide that He is enough and then take the step to live a life in humble submission to a King who can and will keep every promise He ever made to you! He satisfies! He is satisfying! He will satisfy! I am a living witness!
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
1 Timothy 6:6