Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Contentment

Discontentment, and perhaps in certain instances, disappointment are a direct result of a false expectation. False expectations of what life's reality is to be come, stems from the fabrication of a paradigm (a system of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality) which only views life through desires and sugar-coated dreams. The proliferation of this mentality is a result of media and the Prosperity Gospel preached by many generations of Pastors.


Most astute observers of the lives of others and those who wish to do the painful assessment and evaluation of their own lives will soon realize that real life is lived outside that paradigm. In order to fully understand the real paradigm of randomness we must step outside a Fortune Cookie framework and begin to accept life's incongruities.

Life is, and I do not want to dispel the motivation and incentive offered people to dream and rise above their circumstances, (life is) a tension created between the 'good' which I perceive to be 'good' as per my wishes and dreams, placed against the random and disconcerting events which unfold negating the pursuit of my ambitions and dreams and hence there affords a level of discontent and disappointment created by only accepting that the 'good' that I receive in life will only be what I view as desirable. The Prosperity paradigm is not a guarantee. Life does not come with a return policy or a warranty against defaults.

We must understand that the paradigm is not a fortune cookie moment, it is life lived in the tension created by false teaching about the reality of Christian life and the misinterpreted and misapplied teaching of Romans 8:28, "and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." The problem in the teaching is in the definition of what God constitutes as 'good' which is the underlying premise left out of the paradigm and that which is the underscoring of life's randomness. The definition of 'good' must be clarified in this context, in the light of the reality of God's sovereignty, omniscience and omnipotence.

The aspects of 'good' and the subsequent affirmation of 'faith' in an individuals life will be questioned when contentment is defined by prosperity. There is an intricate relationship which has evolved because of the pretense of 'all things work for good' between said 'good', contentment and faith. The fault in the mindset is that, the question of faith (and to throw another cog in the wheel, salvation) is constantly applied to the issue of not having what I feel I deserve, my wishes and my desires versus contentment with what I have been given and the belief (faith) that what I have is the best for me at this moment. 



"Sinclair Ferguson sums it up best: "Christian contentment … is the direct fruit of having no higher ambition than to belong to the Lord and to be totally at his disposal in the place he appoints, at the time he chooses, with the provision he is pleased to make."
 
This can be a hard pill to swallow if expectations can not be placated by faith. In reality there exists no faith where personal expectations trump the parameters of God's sovereignty.
 
If God is who He says He is, then where I am at is the best place for me to be at this given moment, personal expectations and dreams aside.

Next to faith this is the highest art—to be content with the calling in which God has placed you.—Martin Luther

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Contentment is a conscious decision to rest in the providence of God, a humble embracing of the fact that we can learn lessons wherever we are. It doesn't entirely preclude working toward something "better," but it cultivates a spirit of thankfulness even in less-than-ideal situations.