The Journey Begins – Hope with Contentment
Putting pen to paper for the first time to write about our 2021 theme feels like a new adventure. Our bags have been well packed after being treated with such excellent teaching over our 3-day Hope Conference where we gained a Biblical perspective on Hope with Contentment. We have now set off to trek through another year, embracing our call to be content in Christ.
As we navigate our journey this year there will be pathways of beauty and fulfilment as well as the tough terrain of difficulty. We have set our course to head north towards the life God calls us to; to be content in all circumstances.
Setting out on any journey requires the right resources and this year our source of supply or the 2021 theme that will sustain us and lead us into glorious discoveries of truth is from Philippians 4:11b, 4:13 (para). “I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances. I can do all things through God who gives me strength.” Whilst we have read this verse many times in Scripture, it feels like we have only just taken the first step towards understanding the true nature of Christ-centred contentedness. The immensity of the words is only just beginning to settle into our spirits like a fine mist that will infiltrate our souls and permeate our entire beings.
We have learned so far that Christian contentment as echoed by Paul is ultimately needing nothing other than God for our continued existence – that we become God-sufficient (Davis, 2019, p. 32). Being God-sufficient means we come into an understanding and grow in our experience of having everything we need, every single moment, in every single part of our lives within our relationship with Jesus. Contentment is found by dwelling in God’s presence and trusting His perfect love as our Father in every nook and cranny in the journey of life. Whilst this is the foundation for understanding Christian contentment, the scaffolding is love; the perfect love of God that enables us to embrace our sense of completeness. In loving us perfectly, God adopts us as His children, defines our identities, our meaning, and our purpose as He leads us through life. In other words, Christ-centred contentment learns how to see things from God’s perspective. Our identities will be undeniably distinct, our value as a child of God will be deeply imbedded, our meaning will hold together and our purpose in God’s kingdom will be profound. Discovering this secret of Christian contentment will lead us to a place of peace amid every circumstance because we will come to understand the reality of being genuinely and perfectly loved as God’s sons and daughters.
As we begin this journey, it is a relief to understand that Christian contentment is a secret of the faith to be learned and experienced in an intimate relationship with our all-wise, all knowing, perfectly loving Father. It is not instantly accredited to us at our conversion (Davis, 2019, pp. 28-29). Rather, as we relate to this beautiful Father we come to embrace and grow in Christian contentment. It becomes a mindset that is fostered by the love of God and the grace He extends to us in Jesus. It is not a ‘grit the teeth and endure anyway’ mindset or a bitter response to feeling short circuited or curtailed or chastened by God. It is a disposition of sweetness that understands the Father heart of God, shaping us and causing our response to Him to be an authentic, confident acknowledgement that our hearts are held by Him, which enables us to quietly keep moving towards His perfect love and to trust His perfect wisdom (Davis, 2019, p. 45). It does not exempt us from the emotions of life when we experience suffering, loss, or disappointment. It is a lens through which we can process life and find contentment in the only true and final source, God. It is when God crowns us in those moments when we delight in God’s choices for our lives, no matter what the circumstances may be (Davis, 2019, p. 51). It is exactly in this space that we find hope that the world does not have – contentment in Jesus, in all pathways we walk upon.
As with any adventure, reaching the mountainous summit is not instant. It is a journey of discovery that is both delightful and overwhelming. But this journey affirms it is possible for us to discover the secret of Christian contentment as we dwell in the presence of God and find our place in His redemptive pilgrimage.
And so, our 2021 journey begins, and it is full of possibilities that will lead us to the secret place – contentment in Jesus, our loving, personal Lord and Saviour where we will learn that no matter what the circumstances, we can do all things through Christ who will strengthen us.
- Davis, A.M., (2019) The Power of Christian Contentment: Finding Deeper, Richer Christian Joy. Baker Books