Contentment

For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content.
Philippians 4:11 KJV
 
 By Debbie Roberts

Like Paul and like you, I have been in seasons of prosperity and seasons of want, seasons of health as well as sickness.  I have suffered the loss of a brother, both parents, and a child. I am presently separated from my family by hundreds of miles.  I have had the privilege and blessing of several deep friendships, and the Lord has given me quite a blessing in my church family at St. Paul’s.
I have learned that contentment is not something I can obtain or attain to; it is something that is imparted by the grace of the Giver, whether it is through praises in prosperity or praises and supplication in want, as I look to Him and acknowledge my need in whatever state I think I am.
I also am learning that “my state” can be dependent on my choices. And when I choose not to admit I have a need of the Lord, I can wallow around for a while in my dread, fears, and worries, in essence living out Psalm 73, becoming like a “brute beast” before the Lord, having lost sight of the image of God in me. Yet, as Psalm 73 continues, the Lord is always with me, holding me “by my right hand” in comfort, and even though my flesh and my heart fail, “but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” How long it takes me to recognize the truth is up to me, but the Lord continues to draw me, and things continue to get worse until I humble myself before the Lord and recognize my need of Him.
I recently woke up with such an overwhelming sense of dread that I wanted to go back to bed and forget about the day.  I needed the Lord that very minute, and I made the choice in hard cold faith, acknowledging that the Lord Jesus Christ was all I needed, that He was indeed meeting all my needs right then in that moment, even my need for faith.
Life on earth appears to be the process the Lord uses for preparing us to live gloriously with Him for eternity. Some days I get it right some of the time and some days I don’t get it right at all. Sometimes I make some good choices and other times not so good.  I still have an occasional outbreak of rage. Because of Who He is and what He has done for me, I am not at all pleased with myself when I make the wrong choices or otherwise fail, but I can be content in knowing with confidence that He who began a good work in me will see it to completion until the day I step into eternity (Philippians 1:6).