Thursday, September 10, 2009

Christian Mindfulness (Contentment)

Contentment Image by Concubine via Flickr

But godliness with contentment is a great gain. 
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.  1 Tim 6:6-8 (HCSB)

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content -whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.  I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Phil 4:11-13 (HCSB)

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.  Heb 13:5 (HCSB)

Better a poor man who lives with integrity than a rich man who distorts right and wrong. Prov 28:6 (HCSB)

Contentment is vital to Christian Mindfulness.  It is not easy to achieve, but it is possible.  When I look at Paul's letter to the Philippians it becomes apparent to me that it is not natural to be content.  However there is a way to be content.  Part of this contentment is tied to Peace of God which I have already posted on.  Contentment and peace of God go hand in hand.  They may in fact be describing the same thing.  I believe that contentment is evident in those whom peace of God has entered into the soul of that person.  At some point we are able to transcend external events, circumstances, and needs.  We are able to keep in check internal drives, hungers, and desires.  That is contentment. 

As near as I can tell love of money, lacking integrity, focus on circumstances, and focus on things you don't have (coveting what others have?) are destructive to attaining contentment.  These contentment killers stand in the way of the joy that God desires to bestow on His children. 

Discontent is a vicious cycle.  You focus on what you are not, have not, do no.  That creates subjective feelings of discontent.  Then those feelings lead you to figure out why you are feeling that way (desiring to not feel discontent).  You discover that you are not, have not, do not in greater measure.  This leads to greater discontent.  This process continues until you are swallowed up in discontent (sometimes leading to despair and hopelessness) 

On the other hand integrity, godliness, trust, seeking God, focusing on the good in life are constructive to contentment.  These build our contentment as a bridge over our difficult circumstances.  We are filled with God's Joy and Peace and thereby filled with Contentment. 

Cure for Discontent (Cultivating Contentment)

First you have to decide that you are going to do something about it.  Discontent is passive and you can greatly improve your out look by doing something.  Mindfulness is effective action.  When you take action you break with the focus on are not, have not, do not and focus on what is going to resolve the discontent.  Second I would recommend that you read and meditate on James 4 (Really the whole book of James).  Pray, "God what would you have me do in light of what I have read?"  My guess is that His Spirit will reveal an area of integrity, godliness, trust, seeking, or focusing on good that you need to cultivate.  Contentment is like growing a garden.  There are many aspects to making it grow (preparing ground, sowing seed, watering, pruning, weeding, etc)  Likewise contentment has many aspects in making it grow.  Hopefully you can use this post as a motivation to start. 

God Bless You.