Do you know what I want to give you before the end of the year? I want to give you a special present for Christmas, for Hanukkah, for Kwanzaa, for the New Year, for your birthday, for a welcome surprise, or for a just-because-I-love-you gift!
This is a gift I would give to everyone – regardless of age, gender, job position, or life circumstance.
Why do I want to give this gift?
Because in my mind, everyone needs it.
I know that I do.
The gift I would love to bestow upon the world is found in these words of Paul in his letter to the Philippian Church:
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
New International Version, Philippians 4: 11 – 13
Did you find the gift?
Here’s a clue. The Greek transliterated word for my gift is arkeo. Arkeo means to be possessed with unfailing strength, to have enough, to be satisfied, and to have no need of aid.
How is such a gift possible?
Here’s another clue.
There is only one way to experience this amazing, life-giving, life-strengthening gift – especially in times when we are in the throes of heart-stretching, thought-consuming, I’m-not-sure-I-can-handle-one-more-thing kind of challenges.
My gift to you is the contentment that is offered through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
This gift of contentment is discovered as we live into the grace and mercy of Christ. The care, protection and security we need – especially in times of trouble and sorrow – is experienced in the strength of Christ.
My gift to you this year is a believing trust. It is a faith gift. Its promise contends that we are content with the providence, goodness, and care of our Heavenly Father. It is a gift that helps us know that whatever is happening in our lives – even, at this very moment – that the Lord Jesus Christ is with us, is for us, and has the power and strength to handle the tough situation. Jesus is more than enough to meet our needs. He is power and provision. He can take our weakness, our worries, our insecurities, and even our fears, and give us his sustaining, immovable strength. And believe it or not, he can employ our weaknesses for amazing, beyond-our-imagination purposes for the Kingdom of God. We don’t have to face our struggles alone, all-by-ourselves, or in our own strength.
This gift isn’t something we can exercise into being in and of ourselves. We are not self-sufficient. Our sufficiency is only experienced with the power, strength and influence of Christ at work in our lives.
This is why I want to give this gift of contentment to you.
I want us to experience relief from the pressures, worries, and concerns in our lives. Problems and difficulties are going to happen. There is no escaping them. Yet, if we would accept the gift of contentment – the secret to living well in this world despite our circumstances – we would experience peace of mind, heart, soul, and body. And if we would accept this strengthening, empowering gift, what an amazing model this would be for our children and those around us.
Because I honestly believe that our kids will need the empowering strength of Christ even more in the decades to come. This world is not going to become an easier place to live. Rather, it is evolving into a harder, meaner, uglier, sadder, and greedier space. The poverty of health, mind, and spirit is a very difficult and discomforting way to live when impacted by the harsh realities of this world. Thus, our kids need to see the secret of life lived out as we are content, strengthened and steadied by Christ’s love and grace – in the here and now.
What kind of disposition and way of life are we showing our children and those who are observing us closely?
Are we anxious, worried, and fearful about this-that-or-every-other-thing?
Or are we living into a way of life that demonstrates our trust in Christ and belief that he is taking us forward – even in and through the hard and difficult times?
Are we demonstrating to others that Christ is making a real difference in our lives?
I desire to live into the strength of a contented life found in Jesus Christ. I want others to see contentment in play in my life because of Christ’s work in me.
Being content is an empowering, strengthening, and gratifying way to live life.
It’s really a gift of hope!
And you can receive it!
This is the most important and life-impacting gift I want to give you this year!
Is your heart open to the possibility of receiving the gift of contentment?
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