I think that there are many who confuse selfish ambition with faith. And I have been one of them.
Years ago, when I first stepped into ministry, it was a very heady experience. I enjoyed the approval of those around me and received praise from my peers. Like a strong intoxicant, I began to crave it more and more – so much so that I found myself in emotional withdrawals if I didn’t get my “fix.” I wanted to be the next great voice for the Kingdom of Christ – not because of Jesus, but because of personal ambition.
You see, I failed to understand what Paul meant when he said: “Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10, NIV).
It’s that last statement that gripped me: “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” I wanted those around me to think well of me, to approve of me. I wanted to be admired by men and this led me down a path where I no longer served the Lord Christ but my own ambition. However, I didn’t see it that way.
I looked upon what I did as advancing the cause of Christ. If I could become well-known, if I could be great in the eyes of men and be accepted as an influential voice, then I could REALLY serve the Lord. I transposed faith with ambition and deceived myself into believing my life was pursuing Christ. It didn’t work. And, let me tell you, the humbling power of God was on the way.
If you are a born-again believer in Jesus, and you have confused faith with selfish ambition, rest assured that God will humble you. Peter reiterates this, saying: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5b, NIV). I won’t go into the details of how God humbled me because it will be different for everyone. Suffice it to say, it works.
As I look back, now, on the vanity and pride during the early days of my service to Jesus, I wonder how God could ever have chosen such an arrogant, self-serving person like me. I have learned what Paul meant in the text above. Personal ambition is no substitute for faith. True faith seeks the will of God and the delight of the Savior. True faith is satisfied when service is rendered, even when no applause are forthcoming. And, true faith does not seek to please men but to please God.
In the Gospel of John 5:44 (NIV), the Lord Jesus said this: “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” The answer is: you can’t.
Let me conclude from the book of James: “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:14-16, NIV).
Alone, unaided and filled with passion, the man pressed on to bring the message of Christ to those under the power of the enemy. His name is unknown—he is the anonymous servant of Christ. He never sought recognition and never clamored for fame.
This man faced opposition. There were men who possessed positions of prominence and demanded that the man stop his activity. He was a rogue, an outsider. He didn’t have the sanction of their group and they demanded he “cease and desist.” You may be surprised at who demanded that he stop.
You may be thinking that I’m speaking of someone today. That in some remote region of the world a solitary figure is striking a blow at the gates of hell and paving the way for the Kingdom of Christ into the hearts of all who hear him.
“Teacher," said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us” (Mark 9:38).
This is the anonymous servant – and it was the disciples who tried to stop him!
I wonder if there are anonymous servants today – men or women who strive to serve the Lord Jesus and defeat the enemy of Christ, bringing hope and the gospel to those who need it, all the while being told by those who are “in” that they need to stop! How many men or women are told that “God wouldn’t use you… you’re not one of us?” I fear that there are many.
Here was this man, outside the circle of the disciples, going rogue in Christ and sharing in the power of God. How dare he! How dare he think that he could do something for the Lord Jesus without being a part of the twelve.
We all must hear the words of our Lord Jesus:
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:39-40).
I think it’s time we stop determining who can and cannot be a servant of Christ Jesus. God’s word alone sets the parameters for service in the Kingdom and we will do well to adhere to them. Determining that a man or woman cannot serve the Lord Jesus simply because they fail to make the grade with us is ludicrous. Get over it. Jesus calls His own servants – and He never seeks our approval.
You might be one of those anonymous servants. Press on! Don’t let others tell you that you have no right to serve Jesus Christ. The man the disciples tried to stop is living proof that God can and will use anyone who has an open heart to Christ. Simply follow Jesus – be obedient to His word – and let God have the final say in who can or cannot be a trusted vessel of the Gospel.
I looked around me and saw towering skyscrapers that reached toward the heavens. Beneath my feet I walked upon asphalt streets and paved thoroughfares. Everywhere I turned was the concrete structures of man’s design and I began to understand – I began to see that I stood in the midst of manmade Christianity.
Yet as I looked I remembered a wide open field, a panorama of life and light with the gentle blowing wind of the Spirit of God that caressed the air and touched my soul. I remembered the faith of Christ. The life that He promised to those who believe is more like the open field than the concrete city. God is calling and His voice beckons me back to the freedom and life of Christ.
But I have grown accustomed to the city. I am habituated to the order and the restrictions set by men, the concrete towers all lined up like soldiers at attention. I know the city – I know the parameters of men – and I know how to live within the walls created to maintain the illusion of structure and stability. But deep inside, somewhere in that place where the echoed whisper of God is still heard, I remember… I remember!
In that moment of revelation my heart is enraged and I want freedom – I want liberation – I want out of this concrete captivity! The walls of men surround me, but they no longer support… they suffocate. Man’s order is not God’s and I want to break free, to feel again God’s breath of life like the morning breeze and to walk in the vale of God’s ever-present love.
Behind me I hear a voice whisper, “Give it time.”
When I look, I see a small blade of grass, a simple growing thing breaking through the asphalt and tearing down the concrete walls of man’s design. My heart leaps in delight! God’s life cannot be held back, it is stronger than all of man’s efforts to contain it.
As you read this, know that the order of God is filled with beauty and life, rich in love and abounding in grace. The order of man is a prison, no matter how well constructed it might be.
The philosopher asked, “Is this all that I am… is there nothing more?” It’s the question of the ages, the request of the heart to know that life has real meaning. Atheist astronomer and evolutionist, Carl Sagan, once postulated that “the cosmos is all that there is.” But what does that mean? How does that answer the question – “is this all that I am?” Basically it says, “Yes, this is all that I am – there is nothing more.” No meaning, no purpose, no value.
Listen to the first two verses of Ecclesiastes, “The words of the teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: ‘Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 NIV). Later, the teacher would say, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14 NIV).
This is, I’m afraid, where most people in our modern society have found themselves. Adrift in the ocean of uncertainty, and not having any sense of meaning in their lives, they will strive with vain efforts to try and invent meaning for themselves. So they latch onto causes and enterprises that promise to offer them at least a semblance of meaning and purpose. At the end of the day, however, it still seems like a “chasing after the wind.”
The entire book of Ecclesiastes puts the spotlight on this very thing. From first chapter to last, the teacher explores the hunger in the heart of mankind to find meaning in life. This is what we are going to explore as well – taking a journey with “The Teacher” from the book of Ecclesiastes. The framework of our study is found in the last two verses:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NIV).
The Summation of a Futile Life – “Now all has been heard…”
We begin by asking the question: where do people search for meaning?
Some of the examples from the book of Ecclesiastes:
1. Pleasure – “I thought in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good’” (Ecclesiastes 2:1)
2. Projects – “I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6).
3. Perception – “Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly” (Ecclesiastes 2:12).
In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12 is the story of the rich fool who prospered and believed that his entire life was set. God comes to him with this statement, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” If all we have to sum up our lives is the treasures of this world, the prestige of momentary fame or the temporary sense of power, then life is futile… it has no meaning.
The Satisfaction of a Focused Life – “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
There is one place to go to find true meaning and purpose to life – the Creator. Most people won’t look to the One who created them because it terrifies them that there is a greater authority in life than their own determinations. (We’ll see this in the final point.) However, I have found it refreshingly satisfying in knowing that my life is in focus because God has provided it with meaning.
Some statements from Ecclesiastes:
1. Revere – “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing take from it. God does it so that men will revere him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
2. Respect – “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:7).
3. Remember – “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them’” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
God has created us to be His masterpiece. We are the workmanship of His hands and, as such, are destined to have a life rich with meaning and value. Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” If we don’t find the meaning of life in the person of Christ, we won’t find it at all.
The Sobriety of a Finished Life – “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
It is sobering to think that the final judgment of the value and meaning of a person’s life belongs to God. Most people want to believe that they have some say in the matter, that they can determine their own value and meaning – but no. God alone is the final judge.
Some more thoughts from Ecclesiastes:
1. Reality – “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).
2. Realization – “Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment” (Ecclesiastes 11:9).
3. Remember – “Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:6).
There will come that day when all of humanity will stand before God to give an account of the life spent here. 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
There is, ultimately, a “bottom-line” meaning to life: “Fear God, and keep his commandments.” It might sound confining, stringent, and rather oppressive—and it is for those who do not know the salvation of Jesus Christ. Yet, for the Christian, to fear God is the most liberating experience and to walk in the path of His commands is to walk out of darkness and into light. The fear of God and a life of obedience to His word is a life filled with meaning, purpose, value and destiny. All other objectives in this world are temporary – God is eternal. And then, when you stand before God—knowing that your life has found its deepest meaning in Christ—the judgment of God will be this: “Well done, good and faithful servant… Come and share your master’s happiness!” – Matthew 25:21.(This was originally aired on Alive in Christ Radio 2/5/2013. To listen to the discussion with the pastors panel, click here:Alive in Christ.)
(This was originally heard on Alive in Christ radio - www.aliveinchristradio.com
When the early church began to grow, what foundation was set for the people of God to stand upon? For years I’ve heard how the church needs to “assimilate” new members and that the only way for new members in the church to maintain a healthy attachment to the congregation is to provide avenues of involvement. However, pot-lucks and programs are not the formula for spiritual vitality and maturity in the church.
It seems to me that a current trend in many churches is to build a fellowship that is geared toward the self-interests of the congregants. That is to say, many churches have adopted ministries and programs that only serve to feed the constant demand for entertainment and emotional hyperactivity. Pastors must be performers and the musicians had better be marque or the membership will move on to more pleasant pastures.
There was something different about the early church. Their leaders were “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13). They had no marque members, no organized social events, no Sunday school, no eight-week study course on spiritual formation and no building to meet in that could be decorated according to the whims of the women’s auxiliary. The early church didn’t stage protests – they prayed. They didn’t organize marches – they ministered. And they didn’t call people to a self-imposed religion – they called people to a self-denying repentance. And they changed the world.
What was it about the early church? They were devoted, not to a cause but to Christ, and that devotion was played out in every aspect of their lives. It is a devotion that is sorely lacking in the hearts of many Christians today and it is what we will be exploring, with a call to embrace the same principles that built the early church and gave it a strong and secure foundation. If we ever hope to build a Biblical culture, it has to start here. So let me encourage you: take these four commitments as a challenge for your own life. You may be surprised at how God will use you when you follow them. Acts 2:42 - “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
· Apostles Teaching – Devoted to the Word of God
This is where it begins. Without a true devotion to the Word of God, there will be no real foundation that can be trusted. But this foundation cannot only be knowledge of the Word of God, that’s just where it starts. The true foundation is built through obedience to the Word of God.
This is how discipleship is built: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock
” (Matthew 7:24).
The Great Commission of God concludes with this: “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you
” (Matthew 28:19b).
Love is seen in obedience: “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him
” (John 14:23).Personal Commitment - Commit to participating in a regular Bible study
· Fellowship – Devoted to the People of God
God has called us to live in fellowship. There are Christians today that harbor the idea that they can be the “Lone Ranger” Christian and live their faith without the structure and support of the church. But God has purposed that only together will each individual Christian grow and develop as God intended.
Through fellowship we become mature: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work
” (Ephesians 4:16).
It provides the means of mutual encouragement: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching
” (Hebrews 10:25).
The evidence of real faith: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us
” (1 John 2:19). Personal Commitment - Commit to gathering with the church every Sunday unless God prevents it
· Breaking of Bread – Devoted to the Worship of God
The issue of “breaking bread” together is two-fold. First, it is the remembrance that Christ has given us when He said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). It is an expression of worship and a reminder of why we have salvation – the sacrifice of Christ. Second, it is an expression of sacrifice toward those around us by bringing them into our homes to “break bread” with us, especially those who cannot repay.
It is a call to self-examination: “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup
” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
It shows a heart of generosity: “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous
” (Luke 14:13-14).
Christ is honored in this: “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me
” (Matthew 25:40).Personal Commitment - Commit to a personal sacrifice once a month for someone who cannot repay
· Prayer – Devoted to a Life with God
In all healthy relationships communication is critical. No marriage truly grows in depth and happiness without it. No family can survive when communication is lost. And no believer in Christ will have any hope of truly knowing and living in a relationship with the Lord if prayer is not an essential devotion in their lives.
Prayer is personal communion with God: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you
” (Matthew 6:6).
Prayer should fill the fellowship of God’s people: “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him
” (Acts 12:5).
Prayer is essential for spiritual readiness: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints
” (Ephesians 6:18). Personal Commitment - Commit to daily, vocal prayer at home and at least once a month with your church
People are devoted to many things. Watch a football game and see how devoted the fans are. The team might be losing but the devoted fan will cheer them on as if they’re ready to take the Super Bowl. People are devoted to causes, political endeavors, altruistic philanthropy, medical research – and all these can be good. But the Christian must be devoted, first and always, to Christ Jesus our Lord. This devotion is played out in four arenas: the Word of God, the people of God, the worship of God and a life with God. This is how the early church anchored their faith and grew in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The modern church must return to this or risk losing her identity to the world.
In the wake of the election, many have expressed grief and anguish at the direction of our Nation. I, also, felt a great sense of distress as I watched the votes being counted and the results of the presidential election becoming final. Even in my own state, the rise of immoral laws and the acceptance of unbiblical virtues have left my heart despondent.
So, then, what shall we do? Do we go into hiding? Do we finally give up the thread of hope that our Country can find its way back to the foundation that made us great? Are we so overwrought with doubts and fears that we are paralyzed from action?
Or, do we rise up against the trends and plant our flag--saying: "This far and no farther!"? Do we head to the streets like hate-filled anarchists and create havoc, and so become the very thing we oppose? Do we take to the streets, marching in protest?
Is there another solution? Yes! If you are a Christian, you are called to action--not an act of rebellion or an acquiescence of cowardice. Your action, and mine, is to stand up and with clear and steady courage, proclaim the truth of Christ. For some, this might just be the hardest thing they've ever done.
As I prepared for the business meeting at church last Sunday, I began to think of the actual “business” of the church. What is it? And, are we accomplishing it? What we do as a body of believers is more important than we might possibly realize. Eternity hangs in the balance for many whom we know, and the strength and deliverance from sin that Christians need waits upon the church to rise up and reach out. So, as I studied the “business” of the church I rediscovered three things – and these things will be shared in the next coming weeks.
What is the mission of the church – and what is your mission in life? Are they the same? If you are a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ then you must understand that there is only one mission from God and it rests square upon your shoulders and mine.
With all that transpires in our world, with the political, societal and spiritual upheavals that rattle our sense of stability, there is a real need to rediscover the mission of the church. And that mission is: DISCIPLESHIP.
Are you up to it? Will you take God at His word and believe that you have a purpose far more profound than any worldly endeavor? There are four qualities that you must see and experience to accomplish the mission of God.
The Mission has Divine Power
We fail when we strive in our own power and strength to accomplish the mission of God. No matter how great our desire, we have no authority to do anything on our own. We must go in the name of Jesus – living out God’s mission in His power.
The Mission has Highest Priority
What gets in the way? We go though life with our eyes fixed upon those things that are priorities. But, do you view all things in life as a means to accomplish the mission of God? It is “as you go” make disciples. This mission must be accomplished along the ways of life.
The Mission has a Real Purpose
Every mission has a purpose. Often the sense of restlessness in the lives of God’s people is due to the absence of the sense of a real purpose in what they do. Simply navigating through life in aimless disarray is tantamount to abandoning the mission.
The Mission has the Divine Presence
We’ve come full circle. Where the mission cannot be accomplished without the power of God, the mission will be accompanied by the presence of God. Do you experience the Divine presence? If not, perhaps you’re not on mission. God will not follow you – He calls you to follow Him.
As we read in Scripture - "As the FAther sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). Never forget - you are on mission for God.
What are you willing to do to become an effective, productive Christian? Will you go to school? Will you take training classes on how to serve the Lord? Will you, as some have done, spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on a spiritual “coach” who will help you see the mistakes you make and corrections to take? School is good, training is important, and having someone to “coach” you has some value. But, did you know that God has already given you what you need to become an effective Christian? God wants you to be effective and productive – but remember that His view of effectiveness is not from a worldly, pragmatic understanding. God’s view of effectiveness is built on one thing – your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, we're going to take a look at four important dynamics for an effective Christian life. Let me encourage you to read 2 Peter, chapter one.
First - Character Counts
At a conference in Spokane, WA--several years ago--Pastor and author, Henry Blackaby, said this: "You can have a Ph.D. in skills, but your character will ruin you." Ultimately it will be the quality of your character that will open the doors of effective Christian living. Like the punctuation of your life, your character will either leave an exclamation point or a question mark on your faith.
Second - Growth is Imperative
If you're not growing... your dead. Truly, the Christian faith is not a static experience that has a limit to growth. Psalm 84 says that the faithful will go from "strength to strength." But for how long? "Until each appear before God in Zion." That is - you are meant to be in a growth mode until the day you stand on the streets of Heaven itself. Remember - it is the stagnant pool that becomes septic and unfit for use.
Third - Results Matter
This may surprise some people, but God wants His church to be productive. However, God does not measure results by worldly standards. God does not have a quota as if He is some supreme foreman demanding that the production line get into gear! God's sights are set on your faithfulness - that is what He is after. And, if you add the qualities of character to your faith, then you will become productive.
Fourth - Have the Right Information
Your effectiveness hinges on your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Like having a road map of Berlin won't help you navigate the highways of Los Angeles, so having the wrong knowledge of Jesus Christ will devastate your effectiveness.
When your life takes on the quality of Christ, you will discover that you are becoming effective in your faith. Jesus called us to follow Him - and in so doing, He promised to transform us to become fishers of men - that is, effective and productive.
Are you feeling run down? Is it hard to get up? Then try Pastor Michael’s miracle cure! It’s all the power you need in one handy capsule. And after just one dose you’ll feel brand new!
Okay… that’s not actually true. There is no “miracle cure” that will enliven and uplift your life. In fact, just the opposite is too often true. Men and women searching for that rush of euphoria end up becoming slaves to whatever it is that has captivated them. The cravings for drugs, alcohol, sex, money, power, etc. have a downward spiral that leads to destruction and leaves a crater where once a life used to be.
How do we do it then? How do we find that power to live when life falls apart and our world is failing? You’re not alone in the search. The Apostle Paul had the same struggle. Do you know what God told him? It’s the same thing He will tell us – you need to be empowered by grace. Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 and then follow along these next few moments as we explore this text.
First - you must see your present affliction. How is a person afflicted? Often through trials and temptations, with the constant reminder of the failings of the past, will come the enemy of our souls. There are some who think that Paul's "thorn" was his bad eyesight. However, that doesn't agree with the reality that his "thorn" was a messenger of Satan. What does Satan come to do? He is the accuser of the brothers, the tempter, the one who comes to "steal, kill and destroy." This "thorn," by my speculation, was the constant reminder of Paul's failings - his sins. All are afflicted in a similar way and in the midst of it must be empowered by grace.
Second - there is always a plea for deliverance. The afflictions in our lives cause us to cry out – to seek God’s rescue from pain. Jesus did in the garden, Paul does here, and we all want to find deliverance. God's answer, however, may not be deliverance from affliction, but deliverance through affliction. And, ultimately, our cry must be "not my will, but Yours be done."
Third - you come in contact with the power of grace. When you truly know the Grace of Christ and have received it in its abundance, the thorns inflicted upon you will become the points where God’s strength dominates. Instead of finding destruction and despair you will see how much God has done for you, even as the enemy himself stands to accuse you. His accusations will fail because the true Judge has already issued you a pardon through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Fourth - this leads to the promotion of humility. In what do you boast? In this world people often boast over the arrogant successes of men. But God has a higher place for us – and that is the place of humility. When you are empowered by the grace of God you will have no room to boast except in the Lord Jesus Christ. His ways become yours, His life is yours, and His power is your source for all that you are. There is no room for self-boasting in a heart empowered by grace.
Fifth - this brings your pronouncement of faith. It is a declaration of faith to say that you can delight in the sufferings that come as you walk with Christ Jesus. From the inward turmoil to the outward attacks, all things must be seen through the eyes of faith. You will take every experience and tie it together with your relationship to Christ, declaring with certainty that even your afflictions have been God's tools to shape you, until Christ's power, and His power alone, rests on you.
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." This quote from Henry David Thoreau still seems to resonate within the hearts of people today. Yet God has promised a life of contentment for those who have faith in Christ.
Do you experience contentment? Do you believe that God wants you to experience it? The Scripture says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6). Listen to the message "Finding Contentment." First, read the Scripture - Philippians 4:11-13. Below are some notes for the message.
First, God has a Grand Strategy. His strategy is this: He wants you to be a learner - a disciple of Jesus Christ. The world is God school and His word is the lesson plan. He has called you to become a faithful follower of Jesus Christ who will, by HIs Holy Spirit, instruct you and bring you into a life of contentment in Him.
Second, God has a Great Secret. Well, okay, it's not much of a secret. Paul said he "learned the secret" of contentment. This secret is actually no secret at all. God’s method of instruction is experiential. God will initiate you into the issues of contentment through the experiences of your life. Your circumstances are the tools of instruction to bring you into a life of contentment in Christ.
Third, you will find God's Strength. The product of finding true contentment – that is, contentment in Christ Jesus – is to find God’s strength working in and through you to overcome all circumstances and do all things that He has given to you.
Know that God wants you to find contentment. It will only be found when you find it in Jesus.
All for His Glory!