March 12, 2012
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)
Have you ever lived in the land of the "if onlys"?
If only I had more money, then things would be easier.
If only I lost 10 pounds, then I'd be happier.
If only they'd recognize my talent, then I'd feel more appreciated.
Not too long ago my husband and I were praying about his career. Not only did the answer not come, but every door shut that we thought would open easily. As time passed I started listing my "if onlys."
If only we had clear direction.
If only we could begin that dream God placed in our hearts.
If only, if only, if only ...
Soon those unspoken words steered my thought life. They crept into my prayer time. They tiptoed into my relationship with my husband.
One day these words from King's Cross by Timothy Keller leaped from the page:
The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus. Whether it's to succeed in our chosen field or to have a certain relationship—or even to get up and walk—we're saying, "If I have that, if I get my deepest wish, then everything will be okay.
Suddenly I saw myself. My deepest wish had shifted. Where once I longed for God, now my thought life and actions revolved around what I didn't have. What I couldn't control.
That night I confessed to my husband that I had not only moved into the land of the "if onlys" but had anchored there. I promised that instead of focusing on what wasn't taking place, I would began to treasure what I did have.
Today we have food. We have shelter. Our home is warm. Thank You for that gift, Father.
Today I hold a grandbaby in my arms. See her precious smile? I delight in that, Lord.
Today I sit in the living room and laugh with my husband. Thank You for joy.
Today and everyday I am Yours, Jesus. You are more than enough.
Godly contentment isn't passive, but an active faith that says God is enough. You and I are okay because our deepest wish doesn't revolve around losing 10 pounds, our career, another person, or whether we're noticed for our efforts.
Are you living in the land of the "if onlys"? If so, are you willing to change your deepest wish from the "if only" to focusing on what you have and thanking God for it?
Dear Lord, I trust that You are enough and You are good. You are my sufficiency. I find my identity and joy in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Jesus Calling: Finding Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young
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Reflect and Respond:
"The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day." Chuck Swindoll.
What is your "if only?" How much time and energy do you devote to it? What is one choice you can make today that will shift your perspective from the "if only" to God?
Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV)
Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (NIV)
© 2012 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 12 March 2012.