I think it’s part of human nature to long for contentment in our lives. Everyone desires to reach that point where she is perfectly content with every aspect of her life. We tend to picture our future and think, “if I could just get past this phase” or “if I could just make it to this goal.” But, we then miss out on claiming contentment in the present! Contentment really is a choice and not something that we naturally gravitate towards on our own, as we tend to focus on the “what ifs”. It’s more like a by-product of living the way that we are supposed to…not something we gain when life goes as planned. Therefore, contentment involves an active pursuit of us denying our fleshly tendencies of worrying and anxiousness by living through our new identity.
In the book of Colossians, Paul is writing a letter from prison to the church of Colosse that consists of the themes of Christ being our life and instructions for the body of Christ. Paul teaches about this new identity in Colossians 3:12-17, which outlines instructions for yielding lives filled with peace, contentment, and thankfulness. We see that to be content we must start with
Being Less Self-Focused and More Others-Focused
In Verse 12, Paul tells the believers in Colossae to put on kindness, compassion, humility, and patience towards one another. Taking that a step further, we can conclude that selfishness, rudeness, arrogance, and hurriedness are the opposite of how we should act unto one another. He then tells us to “bear with one another” in these things and to forgive each other when we mess all this up. He then says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” The mark of a Christian to the outside world should be our love for one another. We don’t have the luxury of being mean to each other all the time.
What so often hinders us is our own self-love that guides everything we do. One of the greatest things about being kind and “bearing with” one another is that it gets your mind off of yourself. In turn, we won’t catch ourselves worrying about what someone thinks about us, and we won’t repeatedly find ourselves stalking our own Instagram profile (Yep, to see if we are content with ourselves). Instead, we’ll be tending to the needs of others and tapping into this harmonious unity that Paul describes. A key to contentment is getting over yourself by getting your mind off of yourself. Further contentment also involves
Being in God’s Word Consistently
Verse 15 discusses letting the peace of Christ rule in us. This inner peace only comes from the source of the Holy Spirit inside of us. We can choose to operate from a surrendered self so that this “Christ peace” can in turn occupy more of our being and more readily influence our external lives. Paul then goes on to say in verse 16 that the Word of Christ should dwell in us richly. This means it should be such a part of our words and our actions that truth falls on the ears of those listening. We should use God’s Word as a filter for easily correcting ourselves from our fleshly tendencies. The verse goes on to say that dwelling on God’s Word should result in praise, song, and thanksgiving. So, we see that when we abide in God’s Word, we are fulfilled, thankful, and at peace. This produces contentment. But also
Being Steadfast in Serving God
Verse 17 is such a crutch for Christian living. Paul says, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Every action and word that is uttered from our being should echo traces of our Maker. Every bit of what we do should send a pleasing aroma to the throne room of our King. When He is most glorified, we are most satisfied. Rendering every bit of our lives as service to our Lord leaves us with the by-product of contentment, because glorifying God is quite plainly what we were created to do. Therefore, we see Colossians 3:12-17 lays out three very practical instructions for how to choose contentment in our lives.
I love this quote by Amy Carmichael: “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace… If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you know what His will is.”
A clearness of spirit and a peace guide our lives only when our soul stays on God. Contentment doesn’t come when our lives are going the way we want them to; it comes when we have our minds focused on the Lord the way He intended us to. We often get distracted by feeding the thoughts of our picture perfect future, which typically leads to us acting on these thoughts and most likely making poor decisions. How silly is it for us to focus on our own plans when true contentment results from focusing on God and what He has planned! Colossians 3:12-17 outlined how to keep our soul focused on God through spending time with Him in His Word, through using our time to serve Him, and through genuinely loving other people, which then produces contentment in our lives. Let me ask you, are you keeping your soul focused on the Lord, or are your actions and thoughts predominantly centered around yourself? May we choose to focus our time on serving God and being in His Word, so we may walk in contentment and a fulfillment of our purpose.
Dear Father, we thank You for who You are and for Your love for us. Thank You that we are most fulfilled in this life when we are focused on You. Forgive us for when we default to focusing on ourselves. May we fall more and more in love with Your Word and serving You instead of our own agenda and plans. Help us to walk in faith and contentment so that it can point others to You. We love You dearly.
1 Timothy 6:6-7