Phil 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
The Greek word for contented is autárkēs (“sufficiency within”). It occurs only in Phil 4:11 where it refers to positive self-sufficiency (inward adequacy) – that comes through the indwelling power of Christ. This inward sufficiency is as valid in “low times” (suffering) as in “high times” (temporal prosperity).
As “You’re Designed to Shine” stirred the creativity in me and we were encouraged to dream, I wrote in the sand that my dream was to “open a metal workshop”. Although I was excited about my “dream”, there was something in my mind that said “that’s all it could be, a dream.” I am restricted in the movement of my elbow due to injury and can no longer hammer steel as I used to and I also have a full time office job that keeps me very busy. I became discouraged and DISCONTENTED.
When we read about Eve in Genesis, we see that she lived in Eden, the perfect environment. She had the perfect husband, was ‘one with him’ and communed with God daily. Yet, something in her was not content. She had a DESIRE for more, the thing she was forbidden to have and yielded to temptation.
Think about it: Didn’t Eve have plenty? Yes, but she still wanted more which says that discontentment isn’t only for the poor, we ALWAYS want more!
Genesis 3 (NIV) The Fall
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
So I asked my Pastor about it and his answer set me free. He said “work within your limitations.” I thought, “OK, my limitations are: my shine room, a craft table, some beads and some wire.” You see, although I can no longer lift the heavy machinery and hammer the thick steel, I could still bend wire and add some beads. So I CREATED the prayer pendant for ‘Designed to shine’.
My dream was fulfilled, I was able to express my creativity AND share it with many others, but in a different way to my previous reference of what my metal workshop used to be. I was immediately contented and still am, while still believing that one day I will have an authentic blacksmith shop, but this will be in God’s perfect timing and for His purpose.
I think that’s the key! Let’s dream, because God does delight in giving us the desires of our hearts, as He has designed us with dreams. However, let’s not become discontented by putting them into a box of preconceived ideas, past experiences or deadlines. What it becomes then, is a constant chase, causing anxiety, frustration and discontentment. Let’s not be like Abraham and Sarah who took the promise of their dream of having a child and ran ahead of God. In doing so, we fall short of His dream for us. Rather, let’s do like the Apostle Paul teaches us in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Let’s keep our dreams in prayer with God, being thankful for the good things He has given us and content to wait on Him for the dreams He’s placed in our hearts.
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