Circumstances change. Situations are not always the same. There are moments in life when you may be “on top of the world.” There are also moments when you are at your lowest point. But in any circumstance, in any situation, at any point in life, you can be content. It does not matter where you are at or who you are with or your circumstances. Paul said that he was content in any situation.
I know people who are never happy. They can only list the negatives in their life, yet if I examine their situation I find many blessings I could list. For some reason or another, some people feel dissatisfied, unhappy, broken, or lacking. For me it is hard to understand. I have grown to understand this same contentment as Paul mentions. Life is really different when you can be content in all situations.
Today I challenge you to look around and thank God for your blessings. Did you have at least one meal today? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a job? Do you have family? Think of what you have—look at the blessings around you. When you focus on them and thank God for them, you aren’t living with your eyes fixed on your lack. If you can look at the situations that come your way in a positive light, you’ll discover this contentment that is only possible through Christ.
“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.” – Philippians 4:12 [NIV]
Ever since I can remember, I had a great appetite. I like food. I like to try new recipes. I like to watch cooking shows. And to my downfall, if there’s food to eat I will rarely say, “I’m not hungry.” Thankfully I usually practice healthy eating habits.
Matthew 5:6 says, “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God.” Other translations say blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness or thirst for justice. The best meal you’ll ever eat. These people, they will be filled, satisfied. Wow!
Do you have that appetite today? Are you hungry for God? Do you thirst for more righteousness? If not, take a small bite. Then take another. As you continue to eat the Word, as you continue to seek Him, as you continue to pray, your appetite will be more for Him and less for the world. You’ll find yourself developing a great hunger for righteousness, a great hunger for God. As He promises, you will be filled—you will have the best meal you will ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”
-Matthew 5:6 [MSG]
This morning I walked into work and stood at the time clock. Around the corner someone was in their office; however, they knew it was me standing outside their door. Why? Because I’m “always humming.” Why do I hum? Well I don’t want to scare people away with my singing. Seriously though, I am humming praise music. All day long I am humming praise music at work. It certainly keeps me upbeat through the day as I continue to worship Him, switching from song to song, reminding myself of His greatness, of His Word, of His love.
Proverbs 15 speaks about “a cheerful heart (that) fills the day with song.” People can tell that I am cheerful when I am humming. Trust me, when I’m not humming I get asked “what is wrong.” It is very true that when I am not humming, I am not feeling very well, whether it be pain, depression, sadness, etc. It usually doesn’t take me long to get back to the humming when I realize I have stopped.
Do you really have something to be cheerful about? If you know Jesus, I would definitely say you do. Perhaps you aren’t a hummer, but can people tell that you are cheerful by your actions or would people probably say you are miserable? There’s this person I know who always is smiling, always upbeat, always shining with each person she meets. It doesn’t matter if she is in pain, if things are not going her way, etc. She always is cheerful. I can see it. I can feel it. Everyone around her can. Why? Jesus. Every day she wakes up and thanks the good Lord for another day. A cheerful heart fills the day with song.
“A miserable heart means a miserable life;
a cheerful heart fills the day with song.”
-Proverbs 15:15 [MSG]
You might be happy right now, but someone may not share in that happiness. You might be “skipping about and laughing with joy” and someone might be “filled with contempt.” You might be dancing, giggling, leaping with joy, but others may fling insults at you, shake their heads or speak judgmental words.
When you know Christ, you are filled with a joy that no one else can understand unless they too know Christ. There are moments in life that do not scream happy. You might not be able to make the bill payments. Your car might have left you sit. You may have just had surgery and daily life is difficult with your recovery. And yet you are living with this joy that people don’t understand. They do not get why you are happy, joyous, positive, upbeat, glowing, etc. They don’t get it because they do not know Who has filled you with the joy.
David danced, laughed, leaped—Michal didn’t get it. She did not have a strong relationship with the Lord like David did so it did not make sense to her. When Michal spoke in judgment against him, David responded, “I will celebrate before the LORD” (2 Samuel 6:21 NIV). You, too, should keep celebrating before the Lord, despite those who cannot grasp the reason. Don’t let someone’s inability to understand stop you from celebrating the Lord’s presence in your life.
“But as the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.” – 1 Chronicles 15:29 [NLT]
“But as the Ark of the LORD entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she was filled with contempt for him.” – 2 Samuel 6:16 [NLT]
A customer who I see quite often told me of something she enjoys doing whenever she sees little kids nearby while shopping. She said if she spots some little children lurking around, she takes some pennies from her wallet and walks near them and drops them on the floor for the children. She said her reward is watching the children with smiles on their faces gathering the pennies. With such a small gesture, she brings joy to so many children.
The lady does something so simple, yet so intentional. She doesn’t have much but she has constructed a way to use what she has to bring joy to others. That is what we all can do—use what God has given us to love and serve others.
Remember that you reap what you sow.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7 [ESV]
While I was working one morning, I saw a couple pass by and continue to look for something. All of the sudden they turned around and walked back toward me, though it was out of the way for them. The couple came closer and the wife spoke up: “We came here because my husband noticed your smile.” They came across the building for the smile. I wasn’t trying to get anyone to come across the building. I was not calling anyone to come my way. I was only smiling.
There is great power in a smile. Some of us force smiles—for photos, to make people think everything is okay, when we are having a bad day, etc. Sometimes we smile when we see someone we did not see in awhile or even a perfect stranger. I was smiling because I felt joy. I was smiling as I hummed a praise song. I was smiling because of Jesus.
There is great power in a smile. It might get someone to come across a building to speak with you. It might turn someone’s day around. It might help you strike up a conversation. It might even make you feel better. Today is a great day to smile!
“And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.” – Ephesians 6:6-8 [MSG]