Contentment in Christ | Respond
What is your focus? It can be so easy to take our eyes off the Lord and lose our focus. As Believers, we are called to stand firm in Christ. When we are distracted from the Lord we face discontentment. How can we remain content in Christ?
In this breakout, Katlyn Wyble looks at Philippians 3, where Paul rejoices in the Lord from prison. Paul focuses on Christ in the midst of a trial. A discontented heart is the result of looking for satisfaction in the wrong places.
God has given us his Spirit. Fight the lie that says he doesn’t care about you. Contentment is possible because of the strength we have in Christ.
- Philippians 3
- Psalm 16
- Jeremiah 17
- 1 Thess. 5
- Ten Ways to Integrate Prayer Into Your Day | Verity by Phylicia Masonheimer
Respond Women’s Conference
Read the Transcript here!
Hi. So fun fact, My husband built this table, so it just feels pretty special to be standing right here, but yes, I’m so thankful to be able to be with you ladies today to share what God has been teaching me through His word about contentment. And now I do not share this as one who has this mastered in any way, but as one who has been deep in the battle. So I’m gonna pray and we’ll begin. Dear God, thank you so much for this beautiful weather that you’ve given to us, God thank you for this time, where we can come together as women and hear from your word. God I thank you for being our provider, our sustainer and our keeper. God, I pray that you would lead my words now. Amen. So to begin, we’re gonna define some terms that you’re gonna hear quite often throughout this break out. Okay. So contentment. Contentment is a deep satisfaction with the will of God. Discontentment is a deep displeasure with what God is doing. Worry is telling yourself bad stories, anxiety is the fruit of dwelling on those worries. Now, I wanna give a disclaimer, I’m not addressing a clinical physical need here, but the worries in our everyday thoughts that we have control over. If you have your Bibles, we’re gonna be in Philippians Chapter 3, and it’s gonna be on the screen as well. Philippians chapter 3, we’re gonna be in verse 17.
“Brothers, join in imitating me and keep your eyes on those who are walking according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and their glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him, even to subject all things to Himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women who have labored side by side with me in the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be made known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length, you have received your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I’m speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. – Philippians 3:17-4:13
Multiple times throughout this letter, Paul talks about rejoicing, and we know that Paul is writing to the saints at Philippi, and he’s doing so from prison, and he’s constantly talking about rejoicing in the Lord, rejoicing means to be glad, to be joyful. He says, Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say rejoice. And then he leads into, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything. What big words, right? Big words. In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God, that’s our part. To rejoice in the Lord, to pray, to thank him and the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That’s God’s part. Paul then moves into what specifically to think on and what to practice. Now I wanna ask ourselves two questions, Okay, what is our focus and what are we believing about God? Now, I know those are very broad questions. Let’s look at Paul’s focus in this letter. In Chapter One, he says, I thank my God in all remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine, for you are making my prayer with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Further down in verse 12, he says, I want you to know, brothers, that is what has happened to me, has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has been made known throughout the whole Imperial Guard, and to the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Some preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed and in that I rejoice. Now, those are very big questions to think about, what is our focus, What are we believing about God, but we see Paul here in prison focusing on Jesus Christ, hope of heaven, and the saints in Philippi. He’s encouraging them to stand firm in the Lord. In our day-to-day lives, it can be so easy to lose focus. I’m a mom of four, it can be so easy to lose focus and to lose sight of an eternal perspective, we can get caught up with our schedules or our kids’ schedules, our problems. When we are unfocused, we can become undisciplined in our mind. Our thought life, not our circumstances, reveals our heart, and whether we are content or discontent with what God is doing. A discontent Heart is a result of looking for satisfaction in the wrong places.
When we go over those if only thoughts in our mind we’re dwelling on what we don’t have. When we become… We then become discontent with what God has given to us. Rejoicing in the Lord as Paul encourages the Philippians to do is acknowledging that the lord himself is your joy, he is your focus. In Psalm 16, David says, The Lord is my portion and my cup. You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel. My flesh also dwells secure. You make known to me the path of life, in your presence, there is fullness of joy at your right hand are pleasures forever more. We know that when Paul talks about how he has learned to be content in anything, in any situation, we know that learning is a process that leads to change, it’s a result of experience, it is through the experiences that Paul faced, that he was able to trust God with absolutely everything. Rejoicing in the Lord repels, which means to fight off, it repels discontentment by recalling to mind God’s provision and his unchanging character. So I have four children, their ages are seven, five, three, and six months, and during my third pregnancy with my daughter, when we had the anatomy ultrasound, the doctor came to us and he said, Okay, there potentially might be an issue with her heart.
And so we had further ultrasounds, and it was absolutely incredible because we were able… As God was knitting her together in my womb, we were able to see the four chambers of her heart, I was just so blown away by that. And while there was a high probability that everything would turn out fine, the doctor’s words were, Well, it could be or could not be. So the mental battle was strong, I had to take that what if thought, and I had to cast it upon the Lord, and some days I did not take that thought captive and I allowed it to consume me and I dwelt on that, and that left me ineffective for the advancement of the gospel, but God does not leave us alone in this, he is with us. Why can we cast our cares upon Him? Because He cares for us, and Peter tells us to humble ourselves before the Lord and to cast our anxieties upon him. So I didn’t know during that time what the outcome would be, but God knew, and it was through that experience that I was able to grow deeper in my prayer life and deeper in trust in God. Phylicia Masonheimer in her podcast, 10 ways to integrate prayer into your day says, Turn anxious thoughts into prayers of faith.
It’s a choice to either partner with anxiety or partner with God in faith. Faith chooses to believe what you can’t see, but anxiety tries to tell us that you have to see, to believe. So when we have a discontent heart, when we are deeply displeased with what God is doing, we can try to trust within ourselves, we can grumble and complain, meditate on what’s wrong or what we think we deserve, we’re restless, envious of other blessings, anxious. And we’re focused on ourself, and we can dwell in self-pity.
A content heart, one who not only trusts the Lord but whose trust is the Lord is self-controlled, thankful, meditates on what is true, which is God’s unchanging character, at rest, peace, and able to love others. In Jeremiah 17, it says,
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord, for he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream, and it will not fear when the heat comes, but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought, nor cease to yield fruit. – Jeremiah 17
I want us to think about that picture for a minute, a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by the stream, that’s ongoing, ongoing. It never runs dry. It is not anxious in a year of drought, it has all that it needs. We have all that we need in Jesus. Let us remember his faithfulness, how he is our provider, sustainer and keeper. When Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus and He became overcome with fear of the waves around him, and he began to sink, what happened next? Can anyone tell me, what happened when Peter… It was… The disciples were in the boat, the storm is going on, Jesus called Peter out to walk on the water. So Peter began to walk on the water towards Jesus, and he… What happened? Yep, Peter began to sink. And then what did Jesus do? Say it again. Yes, he reaches his hand down, take my hand, he didn’t leave him into his own accord to get himself back up. Jesus helped him, Jesus saved him. God gives us His Spirit, He gives us His Spirit to guide us. And you guys, when we’re going through these battles in our mind, God doesn’t leave us alone in it. When Little talked about Jackie, the story of her losing her husband, I was able to talk with Jackie on the phone while I worked here at Snowbird, and we were doing a station in the prayer chapel, so I was talking with her and getting information about their family, and I remember hanging up the phone and just being so taken aback. Even through the phone, through her speech and words, I was able to see how engulfed she was in God’s peace. She was grieving the loss of her husband, yet I could feel through the phone, God’s overwhelming peace that was surpassing all understanding. I’ll never forget when she shared here at camp about her husband, and she said that when she got the news, she walked outside and it was raining. And she began to weep, and she said, I knew that God was weeping with me. You guys, he is with us. His Word tells us that He will never leave nor forsake us. So let us fight the lie, fight the lie that says that he doesn’t care, he does care, let us fight the lie that He is withholding good from us because he does not withhold good, he is good and he gives us good things, even when we cannot see, even when we cannot feel he is good, we can confess each and every worry to Him because He cares. Let us thank Him for what He’s doing. Even when we cannot see or might not understand. Corrie Ten Boom, in one of her books shared that through her sister’s encouragement, she was able to be thankful for the littlest of things, even the lice that they had while they were in prison.
And when I read that, I was so taken aback and she said that it was because of the lice that they were able to bring out the Bibles and meet with God and to share others of his great love for them while in prison. Elizabeth Elliot once said, “Let me turn there, for the one who has made Thanksgiving the habit of her life, the morning prayer will be, Lord, what will you give me today to offer back to you.” Contentment is possible because of the strength that God provides through Christ. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we can trust the one who is in control, who is God and who will act according to His word, He is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing. And give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
My 3-year-old has been walking around the house and she’s been saying, I have all that I need, I have all that I need, I have all that I need. And I was like, Man, that’s awesome. Where’s she getting that from, and it came to mind, it’s the music that we’ve been listening to, every day since my son has been born, we’ve had a time where we listen to worship music, and it’s a lot of Ellie Holcomb songs that address worry, and it reminds us that we have all that we need, that God provides all that we need, that he truly is our provider, sustainer and our keeper.
When Brooke this morning talked about, Think about right things, how we do have the responsibility to take captive our thoughts and to cast them upon the Lord, we do. We have a choice to choose to partner with God in faith or to partner with anxiety. There have been so many times in my life where the if onlys, or the what-ifs or the whys consumed me, and like I shared earlier, when I didn’t cast that, when I didn’t choose to intentionally think biblical thoughts, I would fester in those. And then outwardly, I was ineffective for the Gospel, because what that did was kept my mind thinking about me and not God and not others. I do see how this is. This is a big deal. The battle is in our mind, but what, God has given us all that we need. Okay guys, I’m gonna pray for us, and then I would just like you guys to sit here for a few minutes, and I want you to do what Brooke shared earlier. Now, you can do it now or you can do it later. But I want you to write down your thoughts, because sometimes it can be hard for us to understand what we are believing about God and what is our focus, but when you write down your thoughts, that’ll help give you insight into what you really are believing and focusing on.
Thanks for listening. We hope this has encouraged you in your walk with Christ. Be sure to give us a rating and review. And for more Snowbird content, check out our other podcast, No sanity required.
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