I’ve written quite a bit about discontent. Oftentimes, even if what I write isn’t overtly about discontent, there is still that undertone. The reason for this is because I am often rather discontent with my life. I know this sounds like a horrible thing to say, but it is the honest truth. I write and preach often about the necessity of the believer to rest in Christ and to cease from their striving…To trust in Him and His holiness. I believe this with every ounce of my being, but yet I so often fail to practice what I preach.This failure is without a doubt the source of much of my discontent, and the anxiety I often deal with.
I’ve had a lot of uncertainty lately. I’ve set a lot of goals for myself, and it just seems like no matter how hard I attempt to achieve these goals they just aren’t working out. Nothing I do seems to be good enough. I’ve had many disappointments, and quite honestly I have been quite frustrated by it all. Many of these things are related to ministry, and my service to God…These seem like worthy and God honoring goals…So I think that simply adds to the frustration that I’m feeling. In prayer recently I even heard myself shout out in frustration, “God, I really wish one thing I do would work out the way that I want it to! Just one thing! Just ONE thing, God!”
I know this isn’t how Christians are supposed to talk…especially preachers. But, it’s where I’ve been. Perhaps it is where I will be again. I’m not sure if it’s where I am.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about it lately, about this discontent, where it comes from and what to do with it. For many of you the answer is probably pretty obvious, but I have a tendency to be a bit slow sometimes…Finally though, I arrived at the obvious conclusion: My discontent is my lack of satisfaction in Christ. Very simply, I’m not satisfied with Christ.
John Piper has famously said that “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” I’ve probably heard him say that a hundred times. I’m sure I’ve quoted him many times. But, that truth has come alive to me in a fresh way as of late. In Philippians 1:21 the Apostle Paul says, “…living is Christ.” In the same letter he also says, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content…I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Philippians 4:13 is often quoted out of context and made to mean that no matter what we do, God will bless it, and we will be able to do whatever we want. That simply isn’t what the verse is speaking about. Philippians 4:13 is about being content because you have all you need in Christ. Paul can utter, “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me…”, because of Philippians 1:21, “..living is Christ.” These are beautiful words and this is a beautiful place to be. Philippians is often referred to as the epistle of joy because as you read it, you just get this overwhelming since of joy that the Apostle is feeling. Where does that joy come from? Being satisfied in Jesus…nothing else.
This is where I have to get to. I believe this is where we all have to get. If nothing else in life works out the way you want it to, are you still satisfied in Christ? Is Jesus really enough for you? This is what I’m asking myself…Jesus really is enough, and I have to wrap my mind around this. It’s good to have goals, but never let these goals take the place of Christ himself. It’s good to desire to serve Christ, but don’t let this service become your overwhelming desire. Don’t make ministry or “doing more” for God your idol…Jesus is the goal. Christ is to be our overwhelming desire.
Cease striving, rest in Christ. Be satisfied in Christ. He really is enough.
Living is Christ…
Living is Christ.