Contentment vs Complacency, etc. [Noval]

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Out Back

1/24/15

The snow has stopped.  There must be close to two feet on the ground- at least that’s what it looks like.  It’s beautiful. I’ve got some heavy-duty shoveling ahead of me.  I hope to get a lot done before the championship football games start this afternoon.  

I love you, Lord.  You fill my life with good things- love, joy, peace.  The companionship of a good, good woman.  The fellowship of my friends.  The comforts of my home.  Useful things to do.  A place in the Body of Christ.  I am a blessed man. 

Contentment is a great blessing-to be satisfied with what you have and where you are.  I’m learning that contentment and complacency are two very different quantities.  The Psalm 1/Jeremiah 17 guy who’s trusting God is deeply satisfied on the one hand but very much into bearing fruit on the other.  The complacent, smug, self-satisfied, self-righteous man doesn’t bear much fruit- at least not the kind people want to pick! 

But I’m coming to believe that there’s a joy, peace, contentment, wisdom and stability that coexists with-indeed, flows out of-a deep satisfaction in the goodness, mercy, provision, grace and love of God.  There is a peace that brings wisdom, a joy that brings stability, a contentment that brings a passion to serve God and others.  

It’s rooted in grace.  The recognition that God, in His great goodness has freed us from all guilt, shame and condemnation. Clothed in the unearned yet all-sufficient righteousness of Christ, we “run in the path of His commands because He has set our hearts free”, as the Psalmist so perceptively put it. 

Sure, we have an enemy.  His assaults are relentless.  He seeks to blind us to all the treasures we hold, shaking our confidence and driving us back into anxiety, guilt, shame, the gnawing restlessness of the unsatisfied soul.  But we can shut him down by telling ourselves the truth.  Old Job did:

Job 19:25-29 New International Version (NIV)

25 I know that my redeemer lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
    with my own eyes—I, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me!

28 “If you say, ‘How we will hound him,
    since the root of the trouble lies in him,
29 you should fear the sword yourselves;
    for wrath will bring punishment by the sword,
    and then you will know that there is judgment.”

David did:

Psalm 3

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

Paul did:

Romans 8:33-39 New International Version (NIV)

33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 And so can we!

 
 

 

 

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