I’ve come to understand that one cannot be in two opposing places at one time, common sense, right? Why is it, then, that we think that we can be in varying contradictory spiritual places simultaneously? I cherish the peace found in God’s presence, but I often forfeit that for a more problematic focus. When my binoculars are set to only pick up what is “wrong” around me, I slowly but certainly step out of God’s presence; therefore, out of His peace. We can never truly escape God’s presence as He is omnipresent; however, our awareness of our proximity to Him decreases, which brings us into a confused, contentious state. We’ve traded our contentment in Christ for contentiousness.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
There are abounding opportunities for us as children of God to choose our juxtaposition to difficult situations. At the market when the person tries to get in line before us with all that stuff and we clearly were there first, when someone is driving ridiculously on the road, when we get that call, when our colleague pushes the right button for the third time that week, do we opt to remain at rest or do we argue? I once would argue outwardly or inwardly. An inward argument is a little weird as we keep the fight going on within ourselves to satisfy our anger. Despite the silliness, the inward argument prevents the words bought with our emotions that cannot be refunded or exchanged. Nevertheless, an inward or outward argument do not preserve our content spirit. Rather, the contention chases away the contentment so to speak.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” 1 Timothy 6:6
Let’s personify peace, joy, and love. Peace, Joy, and Love are sitting quietly enjoying each other’s company and Contention comes up and puts its finger just before the face of Peace. Contention may taunt, “I’m not touching you!”, like a six-year-old in the back seat of an Oldsmobile. Peace has a choice. Does it remain in agreement with Joy and Love or get up and war with Contention? Based on Peace’s decision Joy and Love may walk out of the room as they cannot entertain certain behavior. They will come back when the environment is conducive to harmony and contentment. If we could see in the spirit realm and we can if we focus more on the spiritual and less on the natural with the power of God, we would see the enemy having temper tantrums when we are content. He sends his demons by way of whomever to ‘put their finger in our face’ to get a reaction out of us.
“That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
As I searched the word of God regarding contentment, many of the verses spoke of finances or the lack thereof. Let us address that here also. Satan, our diabolical nemesis, loves nothing more than to wave in our faces that fact that we cannot afford this or that, or that our bills may be due in a week but our paycheck comes in two weeks, or for some of us, there are no means in sight for us to pay for any of our debts, but we serve a God who is the Unlimited Resource to everything we need. The scenario applies but instead of Contention putting its finger in the face of Peace, there is a bill, debt, or unmet need paraded in front of us. What do we do? Well, again, we have options. We can either maintain our contentment with what we have albeit not enough or we can roll around on the floor crying and whining about what we do not have.
“Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.” Proverbs 16:8
Brothers and sisters, I pray that we no longer allow the enemy of our souls to so easily trick us into trading the expensive peace we have for his foolishness. When I consider what an argument, or tantrum costs, I shudder. But I’ve done this repeatedly. I do it less now. The thing is, the more we are made aware of the tricks and traps of the enemy and the unfailing power of God, the more battles we are expected to win in the name Jesus, everyone at his or her own pace. I thank God for illuminating these truths as it is rarely the person at the market, or at the traffic light, it is our skewed perspectives of our entire situation that makes us operate out of a spirit of contention rather than relishing in the contentment provided by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Join me to new heights in Christ, over our feelings, past circumstances, at His feet.
“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” Ephesians 2:14