Friday, April 11, 2008

# 245: Contentment

Living a contented life is what most of us seek. And that is understandable. However, though we may not be aware of it, real contentment can become an elusive butterfly. Several of the New Testament writers tell us to be content with what we have. Well, that won’t fly with most of us in our modern society. We like to keep up with the Joneses, often without being conscious of it.

The main commodity that can give us contentment, generally, is some sort of security against future needs, even though there are many material things and activities that can give us some degree of less permanent/transient contentment.

When people find contentment, regardless of where it stems from, they have the most sought-after feeling of satisfaction in the world. Actually, it is priceless, as it were. Contentment is the one thing that can delete most, if not all, disagreeable and stressful situations. But being content can have a negative side. For instance, some may be so engrossed with contentment due to having financial security that; they unknowingly may neglect their physical or mental health. Once physical health, etc. is jeopardized, all else will go downhill.

Also, contentment which is derived from the basic principles of this world is detrimental to one’s spiritual health. How so? In most civilized countries, life is extremely easy in comparison to how tough life was 2,000 years ago. We now have countless conveniences which make life just about effortless, even though most of us take them for granted. Even in bad conditions, this easy life in America gives us a degree of contentment which makes spiritual values not as important as they were meant to be.

These various degrees of physical contentment which most of us have are destroyers of faith and love, which are required in the Christian life. What I mean is, the more worldly contentment, the less faith and Godly love. That seems to say that the, contentment the material world gives is an enemy of God, whereas contentment in spiritual matters builds up the necessary faith and love for God and neighbor.

If the aforementioned is true, and it is, that would dispel the age-old argument concerning how beneficial wealth can be for the cause of Jesus Christ. Regardless of how much anyone defends their wealth as being a blessing from God, it cannot stand up to the Godly argument that wealth gives them security for the future. And that security is the very thing that steals (does not allow) the security and trust in God, other than with empty words. Throughout the New Testament, wealth is condemned, because wealth makes it impossible for anyone to put all their eggs (whatever is highly valued by humanity) in God’s basket. And one of the reasons is that the contentment and security wealth gives stand in anyone’s way from desiring the contentment and eternal security God alone gives, thus compromising their devotion to God.

Here is where the problem starts: In this world, it is stressed that everyone should get an education, even a higher education, so that they will get a good-paying job and not have to get menial employment, or depend on handouts from government and others. And that is understandable. But the drawback is that with this college education, young people will get higher-paying jobs that will give them contentment. Therefore, this basic principle of modern life is at odds with the way of faith and love in God. That is the paradox that makes faith, love and obedience miserably weak in the lives of the majority of Christians. This principle also is included in my life, even though my major contentment comes from knowing Jesus Christ and what He has waiting for all who love and obey Him. I truly believe that our modern life—which, to a large degree, replaces a need for God—is one of the reasons why the faith of many is either nonexistent or so puny in that it has no effect on how we live and believe.

This is a sad situation for us who have so much in this modern world which gives us contentment, thus making our spiritual life empty of any meaning that brings Christ to life through how we live. Is there an answer to this oxymoron? I usually am given the answer to most difficult situations by Christ’s Spirit, but to this one there is no apparent logical answer, other than the Biblical answer that seems totally unreasonable, and that is to sell whatever that gives us contentment and is highly valued, then give it to the poor.

For Christians to strive for that type of life would be to turn the basic principle of life upside down. That basic principle is to get all we can, while we can, in whatever way we can, so we can live a comfortable life which gives us contentment and security.

This fact tells me that modern religion is an illusion of holiness which may disqualify us for the prize. I wish I never started writing this post. It is so pessimistic. The question comes up: Could we have worldly contentment and still have contentment in our spiritual lives? I am certain the answer is yes, but it would be a comprised contentment. For when God has to compete with worldly niceties/conveniences, guess what? The world usually wins. The problem is this: If those who think they have spiritual contentment and at the same time are not making every effort to be obedient to all that the New Testament commands, their contentment is resting on a false and demonic premise.

I can guarantee no one will ever find another blog or website on the Internet as truthful as this Biblical blog. This blog tells of many difficult situations we will encounter in our quest to please God in every way possible, which most churches don’t dare preach. And quite often the truth gets us where it hurts, and this post is one of them. To avoid telling the truth is not the answer. In this situation, I don’t know what to say, since I may be, in a way, in the same situation as the majority of conventional Christians, although I am far from conventional.

You see, God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This type of devotion that God commands allows no compromise. Denying that truth is not a way to heaven. But if I didn’t write it, I would be a hypocrite. And God can accuse me of many crimes against Him, but not being a hypocrite.

I am sure many of us can manage to wiggle our way out of this disagreeable situation by telling ourselves how good and holy we are, and I am certain there are a few who are good and holy.

The only thing I can hope and pray for is that the world situation changes so that we won’t have life so easy, and thus will be able to get our contentment exclusively from all that God gives through Christ. The way things seem to be heading, that type of world might not be so far off. I do know God is in control, although it may not seem that way most of the time. And if our worldly contentment is standing in the way of His purpose, hopefully He will make things happen in our favor, regardless of how much it hurts.

----------------------------------------------------------------- This next short section is an email I received and my response; I thought it would be informative to many readers.

Keith wrote:

Your frequent references to god suggest that you have access to the supernatural world. I am more than a wee bit skeptical. It would be helpful if you would identify the specific god you are writing about.....there are at least 190 gods.

> Page 11/ Jesus was a perfect man.

> He flunked botany by cursing the fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season.

------------------------------------------------------ Keith, thanks for your criticism. You seem to be correct concerning Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, I have diligently studied and still continue to study the New Testament. There are many, many errors and contradictions in this ancient book. The writers were not perfect, and some of those whose hands it went through might have had nefarious motives to discredit its accuracy. It is a crying shame that many Christian denominations claim that holy book to be inerrant. Above and beyond all the contradictions, the main message is true and holy. That message is a message of love for each other and for Jehovah God. He is the only true God. Also, don't forget, there were no spell-check, proof-reading or other means of correcting mistakes 2,000 years ago. If anyone is looking for the correct way to live, they must be content with the holiness and love of God, mistakes and all, as presented by the Christian Bible. There is nothing better. JC

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