When friends let us down or a relationship does not go the way we thought it would, it’s easy for us to think we’re missing out on something else: another friend, another spouse, another life circumstance that would help us. If only we were richer, lived somewhere else, had more time, had a different friend or spouse…but is the grass really greener on the other side? If we exchanged the relationships we currently have for other ones or for other circumstances, would our lives actually improve? Scripture invites us to a life of contentment, one that fully trusts that the Lord has assigned to us a particular kind of life with particular people. How would the practices of commitment, contentment, and gratitude shape our relationships for the better? Join us for week 3 of “Bad Advice.”
How do we find relational contentment in a discontent world?
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Jesus Christ makes relational contentment possible.
“[E]ach person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.”
-1 Corinthians 7:17
GRACIOUS CONDITIONS given by Scripture:
-Divorce (1 Corinthians 7:15-16, Matthew 19:1-12)
-Healthy boundaries (Matthew 7:6; 10:16-17)
-Staying far from dangerous people (1 Corinthians 5:2,13; 2 Timothy 3:4-9)
-Disagreements that require division (Acts 15:36-41, 2 Timothy 1:15-18)
-Seasonal changes in life (1 Corinthians 7:21, Acts 9:15; 13:1-12, Galatians 2:1-14)
The lie: The grass is greener.
The truth: This is the yard God has given you.
“He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the Christian community itself, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. God hates [this kind of] visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious…he acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
God shapes us inside our limitations, not outside of them.
“The God who made the world and everything in it…made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way towards him and find him. Because he is actually not far from each one of us…”
-Acts 17:24, 26-27
God shapes us through people. (“Every nation of mankind”)
God shapes us through place. (“Boundaries of their dwelling place”)
God shapes us through time. (“Allotted periods”)
Is providence a consideration in your pursuit of contentment?
The person content in Christ... (Philippians 4:13)
Commits to whatever and whoever God has placed in front of them. (“I can do…”)
Concedes to the circumstances God has placed them in. (“...all things…”)
Cultivates an interior life with the Living God. “...through him…”