How to be content

Are you a contented Christian? Or do you have a quiet unease that God is displeased with you and unhappy with your performance? Are you resting in his righteousness? Or are you striving to make yourself acceptable to God?

Many churchgoers are zealous for God with a zeal based on ignorance and unbelief. They are working like slaves but in God’s eyes their deeds are incomplete. Like the church in Sardis they have soiled their clothes through works of filthy self-righteousness.

What is the remedy?

Like the Sardisians, they need to remember what they heard (the gospel), heed it, and start making different choices. They need to stop banking on their own futile attempts at right living and submit to God’s righteousness.

I don’t think anyone gets out of bed planning to be self-righteous, but self-righteous is what you are if you are trying to impress the Lord with your offerings and sacrifices.

When we talk about self-righteousness we tend to think of the Judaizers stalking Paul around the Mediterranean with their circumcision knives. But Martha was self-righteous and she was literally serving the Lord. She was a one-woman ministry baking cakes for Jesus.

Martha’s problem was not that she was cooking; it’s that she wasn’t eating. The Chef of Heaven had come to visit and all she wanted to do was make sandwiches.

That’s not how it works. That’s back to front. We’re not saved or made righteous because we bless him but because he has blessed us. The lesser is blessed by the greater.

Jesus never condemns Martha; that’s not his way. But he does say her sister Mary made the better choice.

Do you see the significance of this? The one who made an impression was not the one who came with food but the one who came with an appetite.

We can get so caught up serving the Lord that we forget the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve (Matt. 20:28). And the main dish on his menu is a hefty helping of righteousness. Hear the words of the Heavenly Chef:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

The word for filled means gorged, indicating that the Chef of Heaven serves hearty dishes. He is not stingy with grace. When you partake of his righteousness you are filled to the point of satisfaction. When you eat the Bread of Life you get a meal that sustains and nourishes you for eternity. You will never hunger again.

He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

When you have had a hearty meal, the last thing you feel like doing is cooking. You just want to sit and digest and heap praises on the chef. This is a very appropriate response to Jesus!

How can you tell when a Christian has submitted to God’s righteousness? They have a look of well-fed contentment. They are not sweating in the kitchen making sandwiches for Jesus. Neither are they singing discontented songs of hunger and thirst (“Oh feed me, Jesus”).

Instead, they are pointing hungry people to the Bread of Life by proclaiming the gospel of his satisfying righteousness.

___________

Extracted and adapted from Paul Ellis’s book, The Gospel in Ten Words

14 Comments on How to be content

  1. Earl Hendricks // September 19, 2019 at 1:49 am // Reply

    Paul, my man, you have done it again. The simplicity of the Gospel of Grace is awesome. Thank you my man, thank you!

  2. Yes! So good!

  3. Jenny L Beauchamp // September 19, 2019 at 7:10 am // Reply

    Great message Paul. Thank you!

  4. Malle Reuben Obase // September 19, 2019 at 8:27 am // Reply

    I really like this write up, many of us don’t have the means to get the right messages that’s why many just go to church because they see others going to church. Please help us with many messages like this, thank you and Grace and peace be with you all.

  5. Thank you Paul, i was cooking for years and never sat down and enjoyed the meal that was cooked for me 2000 years ago. the great chef Jesus after preparing the final meal for mankind said”it is finished”, don’t worry about paying for this meal, it is free to all who come and believe that i prepared it for you”..i accepted and ate and had my fill and not hungry anymore”..God Bless you Sir”…

  6. HI Paul,

    Just a quick one to say another wonderful word of freedom and liberty. While all Christians need to hear this, it is especially true for those I minister to in Aged Care centres, particularly as I shared with them recently the great things that God did through me and others on our recent ministry in Mongolia. Whilst they love to hear this, for some it reminds them, as one lovely lady said, “I only regret that I have wasted my life and did not do more for Jesus.” Despite my insisting that this is not what it is about, but simply “Following Jesus”.”…not Jesus’ programmes, or Jesus’ doctrine, or good works programme, etc, etc”….but relationship and intimacy with Him, like Mary.” So sadly, well intentioned ministers like myself have for many years beat people over the head the subtle ‘good works stick,’ and in their later years we wonder why they carry such guilt and regret? Oh dear, forgive me Lord ! I will use your thoughts as a basis for a devotional and with the Spirits help to set some free to enjoy their final days upon earth…

    Keep up the great ministry Paul and may God continue to pour back into you and your family. You will never understand this side of heaven how many 1,000,000 of Christians from around the world you have set free into the freedom and liberty Jesus has purchase for them.

    James

    • Thanks James, that’s very insightful. I’m sure your words will encourage many who read them. And thank’s for your personal news. It’s always good to hear how you and the Fam are doing. Love to M.

  7. Thank you. Contentment in rich or poor, in sickness or health In agony or not. As a person thinks so is that person Try to be angry without angry thoughts? Easier said than done Thanks for the reminder it is finished for anyone that turns to belief to be content in God’s marriage vow to us by Son for us. The two as won (One)

  8. Another interesting thing about self-righteousness is that it is all about me. I’m still self-centered and self-focused, which is the opposite of Christian living. If I think that I need to do something (anything) to secure or improve my position with Him, then I am still in control and in charge. This mean I am on the throne, and I am an idolator: the idol is me. I have not laid down my life. I had heard it was C.S. Lewis who said, “Humility is not thinking less of myself; it’s thinking of myself less,” but it looks like it was Rick Warren.

  9. Very liberating in theory… but now in practice…
    I’m in the same Church ( since 13 years) but I feel trapped.. like a cage I can’t go out… I tried to stay close to God, in His Grace for me.. but I’m often extracted.
    It’s time for an escape 😎😳

  10. Bishop samuel // October 8, 2019 at 3:42 am // Reply

    Hehehe…….

  11. and these that do this take no credit to themselves in doing this.
    Gal 2:20-21, it is natural to just do as are already loved. we love because he first loved us. At least I am learning this truth, and how to stay out of pride as well

    Thanks again for another insightful post

  12. Mervyn Knott // October 31, 2019 at 8:41 am // Reply

    🍂🍁 CONTENTMENT/REST IN HIM 🍁🍂

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