Therewith To Be Content: Secret Santa Blog Day

 

 

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11

What is your idea of success? Is it money, power, or fame? A good job? A promotion?
Or is it family? Or let’s say it’s vacations away, boats, and camps?
Well, there’s nothing wrong with any of these things.
But what is God’s idea of success?
Back when I was in my twenties, I attended nursing school. I think I sincerely wanted to be a nurse, to help people, to learn and grow. Again, nothing wrong with being a nurse.
But boy, a sweet side effect was that my father approved.
And that approval meant the world to me! I never really felt that my parents were very impressed with me at all when I was growing up. I admit it, I was very average.
So, you can imagine how exciting it was to discover that I’d finally done something right. Or at least noticeable.
Oh, my mom was pleased. But she and I were pretty good friends at the time. So I always had her approval.
But Dad’s! That was something! That warm smile, the crinkles in the corners of his eyes, the arm around my waist.
The bragging on me to his friends.
Even the seeming awe with which my announcement was received by strangers was wonderful. “Oh, you’re a nurse? Wow!”
All of that was enough to keep me going for a number of years.
The other thing I really liked was the money. As much as you will hear nurses complain – I was thrilled with how much we got paid! And you know what money will do for you. It will buy those things of which you have need – but more importantly, perhaps, of which you have want! You could conceivably have anything you wanted in the world! If you didn’t have enough money, why, the credit card companies loved you!
But maybe that’s the point: they’re the things of the world.
God even talks about these things in 1 John 2:16 of the Bible.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Now, wanting things, or wanting someone important to feel proud of you, these things in and of themselves were not bad.
But what they meant to me were.
Because they had become idols.
So after a few years, I lost these things. I lost the nursing, and though my dad still loved me, I lost that feeling that he was proud of me.
I soon lost the money, as well. I was devastated.
So what are idols, anyway?
Well, they are things that come between God and me. Along with the nursing, part of my downfall was alcohol. No matter how you feel about it, alcohol is still an idol – something that comes between God and me. The way I chased men – they were an idol as well.
So, these many years later, now that I am saved and supposedly aware, and “better than all that” – Why do I still have idols? Why am I still sinning? Why am I still hanging on to some of the things I was holding to before? Oh sure, things have gotten better, I’ve cleaned my act up some (with God’s help, of course!), but still, I struggle! With money, with pride, and other things.
Even Paul in the Bible says that he continued to sin. In the most confusing passage of the Bible he says:
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do . Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:14-20)
Well, essentially, Paul is saying, I don’t want to sin, but I do. I want to do good, but I don’t.
How could this be? I am saved, born again! How could I still sin? How could Paul, who to me is the most famous and spiritual guy in the whole Bible?
Well, I think that one reason for this is so that I will continue to depend upon God. Now imagine that! Need God? Oh, at one time, I depended upon him for my salvation. But now? Isn’t that is a done deal? He says my salvation is eternal, forever, for good. But oh, rats – my flesh; that is still within me. Not until I reach Heaven will I reach perfection.
So I guess in some convoluted way, this is a good thing. I will always need God to keep me “unspotted from the world.”
And I guess that means that I have no right expecting perfection from anyone else, doesn’t it?
That alone should help me to be content. I can quit fighting with anyone else, but rather for. We’re all in this together, fighting with our own imperfections, and desperately leaning upon Jesus. My love, my Saviour, my redeemer. The One Who loves me, and loves you.
And that, my friends, that, is a done deal.
Or, if you will, that’s success.

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11 Comments

    1. It is a excellent read. I to enjoyed this post very much as I have had quite a bit of time to reflect on it. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Amen! this is a timely post and spoke volumes to me this am. Thank you Lord for discernment.

    Much love Tom

    Like

  2. I like the way Peterson’s Message says it: “Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned y now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.”
    We all will continue to sin because we are made of flesh and blood. As we work out our salvation here on earth and navigate back to Him each time we stray off the narrow path, He of course offers forgiveness, mercy and grace. And the only One I want to please is my Father.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tom, You say it so well: We’re all in this together! That’s the most freeing thing I’ve ever experienced. We don’t need perfection right now. We need God and we need each other. I like the way you tie it to compassion and the ability to walk alongside our brothers and sisters who struggle and are sometimes there to walk alongside us.

    I loved the story about you becoming a nurse. I know it doesn’t end the way you might like it to end. Nonetheless, you were working in an area of strength–which now serves you well! Walking alongside others in need of healing–just as you yourself (and I) always need deeper healing.

    It’s a joy to visit your blog! Sometimes I wish I could just live here.
    Elouise

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    1. Elouise We had some folks participate in posting on each other’s pages as guest. This was another sweet lady that posted to my page.It it’s her story. It is so good though. I really did enjoy the post. I pray your are doing well.As always it is good to hear from you.

      Much love Tom

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, you could have fooled me! Thanks for the heads up. I still like the idea of you being a nurse! I’m doing OK. Thanks for asking.
        Elouise

        Like

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