Being Content in God's Grace
February 22, 2023
Jesus has taught that it is important for his followers to be prepared for times of suffering and even persecution before He returns and the way we do this is placing our hope in our eternal inheritance with God because of His grace and our faith in Jesus. Our hope foundation is built on our trust in God through the Holy Spirit to completely know the name of God by obeying the teaching and commandment of Jesus out of love as Christ disciples.
The Bible teaches of how many believers of Jesus suffered and were persecuted because of their faith in him. Most Chrisian do not suffer or are persecuted like the Revelations 2 and 3 churches today, but we all will go through some type of suffering be it physical, financial, marital, or spiritual suffering which we still overcome by our faith in Jesus but is it possible to feel content when we go through them.
To be content is to be satisfied during our suffering so it would mean we see something positive when going through them by understanding the purpose for them and what we will gain from them for Jesus.
Paul found contentment as a follower of Jesus in whatever circumstance, he was in.
Philippians 4: 10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Paul said he learned how to be content in every circumstance when he went through the highs and lows of his financial needs when he was fulfilling the mission Jesus gave him which was far greater than his personal needs. Paul’s contentment was through the faith he had in accomplishing God’s will for him. We also can find contentment when we are fulfilling God’s will for us by being Godly in our marriage, in our family and with others, with our finances, in our job and doing his good works for his kingdom. This will help keep us content when life storms arise by doing God’s will for us and his kingdom.
Paul was content when he was suffering with an illness.
2 Corinthians 12: 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul did not say what his physical ailment was, but it may be the illness he was suffering with in:
Galatians 4: 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
It may have been his ability to see after he saw the bright light of Jesus that blinded him on the road to Damascus and only after something like scales fell from his eyes allowing him to see but may have damage them. This blindness may have been what Paul said was given to keep him from becoming conceited.
Paul petitioned Jesus 3 times to heal him of his ailment, but Jesus did not. So, even when we petition God, we may not receive it. Instead, Jesus told Paul the secret of finding contentment in his suffering. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Paul found strength in the power of believing in God’s grace that promised him eternal life in heaven where there will be no more death, pain, suffering or tears.
This does not mean we should not petition God because there is prayers that Jesus want us to petition God for.
Luke 18: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' 4 "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' " 6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Jesus teaches we should not cease praying to God when you are seeking justice from your adversary. An adversary is not just your enemy but anyone who may not like you or oppose you unfairly.
God is a just God and Jesus said our Father will bring justice quickly for those who are his chosen when that cry out to him and believe that his justice will prevail because they are innocent. God only hears the cry of those who are his chosen because they are just and merciful to others.
You may be going through difficult times, and you may be crying out to the Lord seeking his justice, but the quickness of God’s justice is his and not ours. It is for us to be humbly patient and seek God’s purpose and his will for us to be in it and learn from it and cry out not looking for our justice but his. Praying that our adversary will repent and not perish because we know that there will be a final judgement when Jesus will sit on his judgment seat and judge all the unjust and give them what they deserve.
When we seek justice in church Paul teaches that disputes between believers should be brought before church leadership for guidance and instructions to submit to Jesus’ teachings and commandments so that disputing believers can reunite as one body in Christ. There can be no division between believers, especially between married believers.
Paul also found contentment when it came to dying.
Philippians 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
Paul found contentment in death because he believed death was just the spirit leaving their earthly body and going home to be with Jesus which was far better. Everyone who believe in Jesus should be content like Paul when they view their own death as being far better and be with Jesus. Paul was content about dying because he learned it through the many times, he faced death. He said in Philippians 4:11 that he learned how to be content in all circumstances, even death which he learned not to fear because it is much better to be with Jesus.
To be content in all circumstances is something we must learn, its not something embedded in us. Contentment is learned by wanting something more than life itself on earth which is wanting to be with God forever.
Jesus said in Revelations to the 7 churches that only those who overcome their suffering and persecution for him would receive their reward in heaven. Overcomers are those who have found contentment in wanting to be with Jesus.
Why I believe we need to find this contentment in our suffering and even our death is so that we will be ready to be an overcomer if we are one of the saints who will suffer, persecuted and martyred when the anti-Christ appears. I do not believe the gathering of saints (Rapture) will come before the anti-Christ appears only after.
Be safe in Jesus, Ps. Glenn.