Sunday, October 06, 2019

Contentment Is Not Dependent on Circumstances

(Custer Airport, Monroe, MI)

The "fruit of the Spirit" is noncircumstantial (Galatians 5:22-23). Life's circumstances do not determine what spiritual fruit is produced in us. Otherwise love, peace, patience, kindness, and so on rise or fall depending on one's circumstances. The real thing, if it exists at all, must be something unattached to the vicissitudes of life.

Contentment is noncircumstantial. We see this in Paul, who wrote:

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

I want to learn that secret! It is not yet my full possession, but it is my desire. To possess this is to be free. Out of such freedom we are able to love and live.

How is true contentment attained? Contentment is a function of connectedness. Contentment increases as I am connected, branchlike, to Jesus who is Vine-like.

Any other answer to human flourishing is foolish. This is especially important to understand in the midst of our materialist consumer culture. 
Our consumer culture works against contentment. It fosters and thrives on perpetual discontentment.

Thomas Merton writes:

"If we are fools enough to remain at the mercy of people who want to sell us happiness, it will be impossible for us ever to be content with anything. How would they profit if we became content? We would no longer need their new product. The last thing the salesman wants is for the buyer to become content. You are no use in our affluent society unless you are always about to grasp what you never have." (
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, 84)


Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Encounters with the Holy Spirit (a book I co-edited with Janice Trigg)

I''m now giving attention to Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart
Then, Linda and I will co-write our book on Relationships.

Followed by... Technology and Spiritual Formation.