Are You Content?

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I complained A LOT today.  Yes, I did.

Not out loud — well, maybe a bit…and if you heard it, please forgive me — but deep inside it was much worse than what came out of my mouth.  Yeah, honestly.

Then I read this in my trusty Lucado devotional:

Test this question:  What if God’s only gift to you were His grace to save you.  Would you be content?

You beg Him to save the life of your child.  You plead with Him to keep your business afloat.  You implore Him to remove the cancer from your body.  What if His answer is, “My grace is enough.”  Would you be content?

You see, from heaven’s perspective, grace is enough.  If God did nothing more than save us from hell, could anyone complain? . . . Having been given eternal life, dare we grumble at an aching body?  Having been given heavenly riches, dare we bemoan earthly poverty? . . .

If you have eyes to read these words, hands to hold this book, the means to own this volume, He has given you grace upon grace.

~In the Grip of Grace

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. ~Philippians 4:11

Those are Paul’s words. Not mine.

And he wrote those words from prison.  These too:

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  ~Philippians 4:12-13

Earlier in Paul’s life he had been given a thorn in the flesh.  It’s not clear in scripture what this was, but most believe it was a true handicap for him.  I like the way The Message words this familiar passage: 

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!  At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then He told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.  ~2 Corinthians 12:7-9

It’s a tough lesson. I want to get it learned.

I want to appreciate the gift.

Are you content?

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21 responses »

  1. It is a tough lesson Michelle, and there are some days when it is MUCH harder than others. So good when you can take the ‘long view’ – when grace IS enough. But not so easy to keep hold of! Praying for you.

  2. Hey, you two, the learning process is tough. I am making progress. What I desire is to, one day, never have a complaint. Maybe I’m just hoping for heaven?

    Love Y’all!

  3. His Grace is sufficient for me..HE is enough… *sigh* i come back to this over and over and over again..and as Americans we are blessed with grace upon grace…and often I find myself less than grateful. 😳 praying about that..thanks Michelle

  4. I suppose we all keep coming back to it, Darla. I can’t remember who it was, I think Angie, who talked about the fact that Paul had to learn contentment. That’s what the scripture says, “I’ve learned to be content…”

    Glad we’re in this together! 😉

  5. To be honest , this particular verse that His grace is sufficient for me, doesn’t seem always comforting.Because we want problems to be fixed our own way , we don’t seem to see Gods way, thats when the real dilemma comes in.Being a person who likes to see remedy or quick fix for most day to day trifles, i often find myself discontented.But when the problem has got fixed in His own way then i am really able to perceive why He said “His grace is sufficient for me”
    I feel all thro’ out my life i will be always learning its meaning.
    But its a great solace to hear this ofttimes.

  6. It’s something I’ve lost sight of a bit recently, nurturing contentedness, but reading this has inspired me! It reminded me of the joy that’s in contentedness.
    One line that stood out for me was God’s “grace upon grace” and seeing the truth of that in my life today. Thank you Lord!
    Thanks Michelle, love you.

  7. It sure doesn’t, Rachel! Glad to see you here. 😉

    “I feel all thro’ out my life i will be always learning its meaning.” Amen, Ruth. I think it will continue to take us to deeper and deeper levels, too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Hey, Birg! I’ve missed seeing you. I know you’re quite busy these days. Grace upon grace, we truly have received. Anything more than salvation is much more than any of us deserve — actually, we don’t deserve salvation. Grace, unmerited favor. He sure is good to us. Love you, too!

  8. Hey how is that content thing today?? have you found that some days are just easier than other days?? So glad that HIS mercy is new every morning….I got my truck load today.. *all smiles* love you!

  9. Some days are better than others.

    So there are days I’m glad to be looking down at the grass.

    And then there are days I’m absolultely delighted to know that I will never be looking up at the grass.

  10. Ok, I am literally going to copy and paste the comment I just left on Tam’s blog because you are both making me think about the same thing. I am much more content when I surrender and don’t insist on asking for what I want. I’m told we’re supposed to ask for our heart’s desire, but I’m unsettled when I do because my heart’s truest desire is to be content with what serves him. Here’s my full comment, if it makes any sense:

    I’ve wondered about this a lot… I know I’m supposed to ask for what I want, to tell God my heart. But more than anything, I want His will to be done in my life. I can’t see the big picture so I don’t want to ask for something that wouldn’t serve it.

    So mostly I tell Him my heart and then say that if what I want isn’t what He needs, then I surrender that His will be done. I honestly can’t remember the last time I prayed for healing… I just pray for strength and fortitude and to be open to His will in my life… that He helps me to get out of His way… that I can step aside and follow His lead.

    Part of me wants to ask and insist… but the bigger part of me feels too unsettled when I do… like I’m getting in His way… like it’s holding me back from being His vessel.

  11. Hey, Darla. A truck load of mercy??? It has been better today. Thanks for asking.

    You will NEVER be looking up at the grass, Nor. Ever. I’m praying tomorrow is a day full of rest and renewal.

    Thank you, Sara:
    “So mostly I tell Him my heart and then say that if what I want isn’t what He needs, then I surrender that His will be done.”

    Me too. I don’t know any other way but to step aside and follow His lead. Some days are easier than others…we keep pressing on and keep learning more. Thanks for your encouraging words and clear teaching.

    ALL Y’ALL!

  12. Good evening, Papa, we have a LOT in common!

    Lucado is wonderful. NorEaster sent me the one I use all the time for the blog. It’s a compilation of excerpts from most of his books. I LOVE it!

    Hope all is well with you! I love your heart, Papa! 😉

  13. Okay, I know I read this post …. apparently I just completely spaced commenting. 😳

    But I ♥ you!!

    And … I got tested with patience and contentment tonight. In the middle of it (work) I asked God, “Did I ask You for patience? I don’t remember asking You.” (Meaning of course, that when we ask for things like patience we tend to get TESTED.) Anyway. I *almost* think He laughed at me. Like I was funny. It was a great stress relieving moment even though it was surrounded by buckets of complaining. sigh. Thank goodness He has patience. I’d be SUNK.

  14. my feet were just knocked out from underneath me.

    no,

    i am not content. not always. i try to be. you have no idea how many times each day i tell myself…die to your flesh, tam…let it go. i battle each day.

    how can He be so patient and loving? i can not comprehend it, sis. at all.

  15. HAHA Annie! I’ve had that very conversation with the Lord before and I KNOW I heard Him laugh! Well, not really…but yes, He certainly has a way of teaching us, of leading us further down the path. Without Him, I’d be scary! 👿 😆 Love you, Sparkle!

    Tam, I love your honesty. I battle it every day, as well. It is definitely the hardest lesson, I believe, we have to learn this side of heaven. We want what we want when we want it…and sometimes it’s very ugly. Actually, for me, I had to quit subscribing to magazines. I felt such angst coveting over every new and improved Home and Garden. We can’t just have a home and garden in America, we have to have Better Homes and Gardens…??? It’s huge…and I haven’t even mentioned the health element…ugh!

    All that to say, I understand Tam. Whatever the struggle may be, it is a learning process — part of the walk of sanctification. I love you and am praying. Check your email! 😉

  16. I can’t stop reading this post. Initially, I had to admit that I didn’t find his grace sufficient. I’ve let worry, fear and strife paralize my heart and mind for years. This is exactly what I needed to read. Please revisit this topic in future posts. You have such a gift.

  17. Hello, Tracy. It really is a struggle for me too. I have to keep remembering, or the worries of the world do overtake my mind. He is able to carry us past that point of paralysis, if we will only trust in Him. Thanks for visiting my blog. Blessings!

  18. I have thought about that before. I would like to say that I would be content with just his grace but I have been in that position before.

    About the complaining part. I think your okay. I often say it is my spiritual gift sometimes because I do it so good.

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