Monday, 14 June 2021

T To Your Health

Be Content

“But godliness … is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” – The apostle Paul

If contentment could be bottled, a lot of people would buy it. The problem is, of course, that contentment cannot be bottled or bought. In fact, when asked how much money is enough, a wealthy financier once answered, “Just one dollar more than one has.”

We yearn for the comfort and rest that comes with contentment. But we live in a society that constantly tries to make us discontent so we will believe that we actually need to buy that new car or new computer or wide screen high definition TV. Or maybe we need to update our wardrobe, because the media has convinced us that that “clothes makes the man.” Sales people try to convince us that a cruise or some other trip to an exotic destination will fulfill our dreams. When we move into a new home we may be content for awhile, but then we look at our old furniture and our “contented feelings” begin to slip away.

“… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” the apostle Paul wrote from prison, with execution looming. “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” (Phil. 4:11-13, NIV).

Tim, a doctor, and his wife, Beth, were excitedly looking forward to getting into practice so they could finally have all the things they had waited so long to afford. The long years of scrimping and saving to get through medical school and residency were finally behind them. So they bought their dream house – a large five bedroom home with a swimming pool in a beautiful area not far from the hospital. They envisioned a place where they would live happily ever after with their two daughters. However, Tim soon became enmeshed in the busy practice and Beth was swept up in the children’s activities and community projects. By the end of the year their marriage was in trouble and their heaven on earth shattered. Thankfully, they both became followers of Christ and began to experience true joy and contentment that had nothing to do with their many possessions. They learned to base their expectations upon their needs not their wants. Before long they had simplified their lifestyle and made a commitment to stay as free as possible from the debt trap and “conspicuous consumption” of our modern society.

Contentment is more than satisfaction with something we’ve achieved, our relative fame or fortune, or the overall life situation we believe we have created for ourselves and those we care about. Contentment is a settled attitude of the heart – an attitude that is possible no matter what our circumstances may be. “Impossible!” you protest. “My son just lost his job, my aging mother is no longer able to remain in her home, my spouse is having health problems, and we’re falling behind on our bills. Feeling peaceful and settled in the midst of all that would take a miracle.”

Based on what the apostle Paul wrote about it, contentment may not be as much a miracle as it is a secret of faith that can be learned. This means that even Paul did not always know this secret. Earlier in his life, the apostle Paul was likely quite discontent. He was a member of a holier-than-thou group called the Pharisees, whose name came from the word “separated,” and such groups often have a strong sense of competition regarding who is the holiest. From the Pharisaical perspective, Paul’s credentials were impeccable.

But even with such credentials, Paul had come to count all his human accomplishments as “rubbish” (the actual word used is far stronger, translated “dung” in the King James Version) compared to knowing the real Secret of the ages – which is found in knowing and loving and serving a person named Jesus. From Jesus, Paul had learned that life was not about Paul but about Paul loving God with his whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself. As long as he was seeking to fulfill that mission, he could be content, period. As Dante wrote, “In His will is our peace.”

Seven ways to enhance your contentment:

  1. Recall the last time your primary feeling was one of contentment. List all factors that you think contributed to this feeling:
  2. Finish this sentence: I would be content if _____________________________.
  3. Someone said, “When you think of yesterday without regret and tomorrow without fear, you are near contentment.” Assign a percentage to the time you spend thinking about the past, the future, or the present.
  4. Make a wish list of things you want to have and examine it for signs of discontent.
  5. Assign yourself a “contentment score” from 1 to 10 (ten being very content most of the time). Then, ask a spouse or friend who knows you well to assign you a “contentment score” from 1 to 10, and compare the two scores.
  6. If you agree with Dante, that “In His will is our peace,” what changes might you need to make in order to find what the poet was describing?
  7. In your own words, define “the secret” of contentment:

Note: This column is adapted from a chapter in The A to Z Guide to Healthier Living, by Drs. James Dill, David Biebel, and Bobbie Dill, RN. All rights reserved.

               

  

Columnist: Dr. David B. Biebel

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Dr. Biebel has authored or co-authored twenty books, including one bestseller: If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? and the Gold Medallion winner, New Light on Depression. His recent releases include Making God Visible and Away in a Manger: The Christmas Story from a Nativity Scene Lamb's Point of View.


His goal is to help people attain and retain optimal physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health (personal wholeness) so they can love the Lord with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves. He founded Healthy Life Press (www.healthylifepress.com) to help new authors with something to contribute in this arena to get their works into print.

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        To Purchase these or any other of Dr. Biebel's titles click HERE

 

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