A spirit of contentment

A spirit of contentment

So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6

Deuteronomy 31:3-8

 3 The LORD your God himself will go over before you.

 6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

A safe place, a feeling of safety, is often essential for a spirit of contentment and well-being. It is often hard to find a safe place when life is fraught with anxiety, stress, and trauma. Where do you go to feel safe?

Many think of a safe place as a safe location. While others think of it, mainly as a mental or emotional state. In the realm of psychology, this often involves imagining or visualizing a tranquil, serene, often uplifting spot or scene. For children of the King our safe place is not imaginary. It is real and it is found in a person, the Father God, and the promises which He has made to us His children.

Sadly, many of us grew up in circumstances that were not secure. Often this has to do with the lack of good and biblically based parenting. Parents are to impart a sense of security and safety. They are supposed to provide “our safe place.” This is particularly true of the role our dads are intended by the Father to play in the lives.

If we lacked a safe place, truly we have a hole in our hearts and souls. Our heart is terribly wounded.

Our Father in heaven truly intends to make this right in our lifetimes. He has made unconditional promises regarding His intentions. Although we are often told and believe otherwise, contentment really has little to do with material wealth, prestige, position, or power. Further, our physical security can never be fully guaranteed in the world filled with unexpected events and catastrophes.

But there is a better way, a more excellent way. Given time, practice, and perseverance, it works. We have the Father, and in and through Him, we have all we need.

But contentment is like a muscle and it must be exercised. Through persistent effort and repetition, over time we develop a spirit of contentment and learn to rely firmly on the Father’s presence and provision.

Living with contentment does not mean that we do not experience fear or anxiety from time to time. But we do not have to give into our worst fears and let them control us. Why do we feel fear and dread? Is it because we feel vulnerable or like we are losing? Is it because we are not able to control our circumstances or even a small corner of the world in which we live? What empowers our fear? Surely the pain, sorrow, and wounds of a lifetime are pervasive.

REFLECT & PRAY

Could anything feel more disconcerting or frightening than having to face a terrible trial all by yourself? The Father tells us that those who know Him never have to worry about that. He’s right there with us, in the easiest and most difficult of times (Stanley).

Father, at times I have such fear and dread in my heart. I do not want to be like this. You promised that perfect love casts out fear. I long for my heart to know and experience the safe place that You have promised.

INSIGHT

C. S. Lewis has said that “100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.” Death is inevitable but are we as children of the King , do we have to live in fear of death?

“Where does the fear of death come from? Partly, it comes from fear of the unknown. But still more, it comes from the sense of sin . . . But where does that sense of sin come from? It comes from a sense of being under the law” (Barclay).

“As long as people see in God only the law of righteousness, they must always be in the position of criminals before the judge with no hope of acquittal. But this is precisely what Jesus came to abolish. He came to tell us that God is not law but love, that the center of God’s being is not legalism but grace, that we go out not to a judge but to a Father who awaits his children coming home. Because of that, Jesus gave us the victory over death, its fear banished in the wonder of God’s love” (Barclay).

1 Corinthians 15:54-57

 54 “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

 56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.

 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This promised victory is certain. It is a part the inheritance of every child of the King. It is also our present possession. We do not have to struggle and try to win. The battle has already been won. By faith we actualize it.

This is where modern psychology and scriptural truth coalesce. Psychology speaks of visualizing real or imaginary locations that are pleasant, tranquil safe places. The Scriptures ask us to hold fast and believe the Father’s promises by faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

If the ultimate fear is death and Jesus conquered it through His resurrection and the redemption it provided each of us, why do we fear death?

Hebrews 13:6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

But we do have a responsibility in this. We have to choose to walk with the Father daily and live out our faith. We have to build restorative times when we occupy our safe place. We focus on building character rather than focusing on the outcome of our efforts. And love rather than judgment and condemnation should become our natural, “normal” spontaneous reflex. Our love, compassion, and forgiveness should speak louder than our fears and doubts. Him and

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