Links Daily Devotional

The Content-less Game

Not that I am speaking of being in need, 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 strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13, ESV)

When we read today’s passage and don’t think anything about the life of the author, they may not mean as much as when we know what Paul experienced: “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27, in which Paul describes his sufferings and hardships for Christ). After reading this list, those three verses in Philippians really mean something. How in the world is Paul able to find contentment, joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment only in Christ?

There are not too many golfers I know who are fully content with their golf game. After every round, a golfer thinks back to where he could have shaven off a couple more strokes. “If I would have made this putt,” “If I would have hit that fairway”—these are the regrets we hear (and say!) after rounds.

Unfortunately, very seldom do we hear golfers talk about how their rounds could have been worse. They quickly forget the 50-foot putt they drained to save a par, or the tree they hit and the ball somehow decided to bounce back into the middle of the fairway. You see, we are rarely satisfied with our play.

Golf is just one arena (there are many in our lives) where it proves hard to be content, especially in Christ. When life is good, when life is hard, when life has its ups and its downs, we are always fighting to be content in Christ. It is a battle every day, for we are selfish and sinful people.

How can one seek to be content in Christ the way Paul displayed (we also have to remember that Paul didn’t do this perfectly either)? There are many ways to do this, but we might boil it down to two things: grace and gratitude.

We must recognize God’s grace all the time in our lives and remind ourselves (and other believers) constantly of the Gospel. Moving from death to life, from eternity in hell to eternity to heaven was a not a one-time thing. Instead, living in and through the scandalous Gospel of grace through Christ is a moment-by-moment process for the Christian.

And then, we are to be grateful. Gratitude to God for his Son is a necessity in order to live a Gospel-minded life. Living out of a thankful heart discards entitlement and pride and brings in love, joy, and contentment. Pursue God’s grace more and more, and God will turn your heart into a thankful spirit. Like Paul, we can learn contentment in whatever situation when we find our joy and satisfaction in our one, true, divine, perfect Savior!

Rosson Anderson
May 28, 2014
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