As I read it, I couldn't help but think of my Dad. Never once have I heard him complain. Never once have I heard him grumble. He has had a joyous attitude and contentment in the Lord...at all times. I have learned so much from his godly example in difficult circumstances. I believe that he has what this devotion is referring to.
So, I pray that this devotion will be an encouragement to you as it is to our family as we walk on this journey of faith. May we continue to mimic the apostle Paul's attitude of contentment and joy, despite our circumstances:
"In his popular book The Purpose Driven Life, author and pastor Rick Warren makes one point very clear, "It's not about you." In a world where pursuing personal comfort and happiness is an obsession, many of us chafe and choke at the thought of any struggle or pain invading our lives. The thought that the world wasn't created just to keep us happy and comfortable seems counter intuitive to today's thinking. It can be difficult to swallow the fact that God is not most interested in our comfort, but more interested in our character.
To put this in perspective, I recently reread the trials and tribulations of the apostle Paul. It is eye opening to discover the very things we dread and run from in our lives are precisely where Paul found his contentment. Look at his words in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. He's essentially saying: I am content when I lose. I am content when I am weak. I am content when I'm insulted. I am content when I endure hardships. I am content with persecutions. I am content with difficulties. How can this be true? Paul shares his discovery: Because when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul's stunning contentment is a clear example of the way we should live our lives content in everything. This happens when we allow the divine strength available through the power of the Holy Spirit to permeate our human frailties and weaknesses. Paul's prescription for contentment is an attitude of unselfish humility.
Had I been imprisoned under Paul's circumstances, I'm sure I would have moaned and groaned, demanding the guards give me special treatment. Mirroring the life of Christ, Paul empties himself of "self" and allows unselfish humility to drive his attitude and his actions. This is the first step to learning contentment. Paul encourages all believers to go one step further. "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe" (Philippians 2:14-15, NIV). Think about that for a moment; a life that lacks grumbling, complaining or arguing leaves room for only one thing...joy!
As we exchange our selfish attitude for one of joyful humility others will take note and be drawn closer to Christ. Friends, as we allow God to work in the midst of our brokenness and inability His strength rushes in to fulfill our need. Let's make a commitment to be joyfully humble and experience God's transforming work in your life and in the lives of others. Living in His strength, our lives will reflect Christ and we will be content in all circumstances."
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong'."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)