A spirit of contentment ∙
So we can confidently say, “The LORD is my helper so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6
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 secure location. At the same time, 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 found in a person, the Father God, and the promises He has made to us.
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.” The Father intended human fathers to play a significant role in providing a sense of well-being, acceptance, and protection in the lives of the children.
We have a hole in our hearts and souls if we lack a safe place. Our heart is 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 has little to do with material wealth, prestige, position, or power. Further, our physical security can never be fully guaranteed in a world filled with unexpected events and catastrophes.
But there is a better way, a more excellent way. Given time, practice, and perseverance, it works. The Father is, indeed, our father, and we are part of His Forever Family. 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, we develop a spirit of contentment over time 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 in to our worst fears and let them control us. Why do we feel fear and dread? Could it be because we feel vulnerable or like we are losing? Is it because we cannot control our circumstances or even a tiny corner of the world in which we live? What empowers our fear? Indeed the pain, sorrow, and wounds of a lifetime permeate our hearts and inform our sense of well-being and security.
REFLECT & PRAY
How disturbing and frightening it is to have to face a dreadful trial alone. The Father tells us that “those who know Him never have to worry about that. He is right there with us, in the easiest and most difficult 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 You promised.
C. S. Lewis said, “100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.” Death is inevitable but are we. As children of the King, are we doomed to live in fear of death? Absolutely not!
“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 feel like criminals who stand before a 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” (Barclay). When we go home, we do not go to meet a harsh judge but rather to a loving Father who eagerly awaits the homecoming of His dear children. Because of that, Jesus gave us victory over death, and the fear of death is 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 of 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 memories or imaginary locations that are pleasant, tranquil, and 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 confidently say, “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 on our efforts’ outcome. 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.
1 John 4:18 Perfect love expels all fear.
© Dr. H 2022