Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Philippians 2:5-6 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped…
When I was young, and to a certain extent it has carried over to the present, I was very discontent. I was always looking for something a little better. If I had a car, I wanted a nicer car, and especially a faster car. My dad saw it in me, and was constantly reprimanding me for it. I can still hear him saying, “Be content.”
I know that material discontent is wrong and does not demonstrate the level of confidence in Christ that should be evident. Discontent also flowed over into a performance discontent in my life. I remember especially being discontent with my golf game, which drove me to learn more, practice more, and score better. Even today, when I do anything of a competitive nature, I want to excel, and I will do just about anything to better myself.
The problem with discontent is that it generally stems from a personal value deficiency. We seek to excel in performance or in possessions because we are trying to prove ourselves to others and earn their approval. Joy will replace discontent when we realize that our value doesn’t come from our performance or our possessions, but from what Jesus Christ performed in us when He saved us and qualified us to be God’s son.
So why am I still driven to improve? Why does it seem to some people that I am discontent? It’s because now I want my life to be one of excellence as an honor to God, not to earn something from God. As a response to His work in my life, I am willing to forget everything that had meaning in the past and press on toward a higher goal – the goal of knowing Jesus Christ fully and expressing the righteousness of God faithfully.
Look at the example of Jesus in today’s Scripture. He is, in very nature, God. He is equal to Him in every way, yet He did not remain content with His status until He had accomplished God’s purpose.
It is easy for us to believe that we have arrived at a level of spiritual maturity and comfort so that no further advancement is necessary. The older we get the more this becomes a problem. We get comfortable at our current level of understanding and activity. We get conflicted when we think change is coming, wondering if we’ll be able to learn and adjust. We want the security of our memories of how things worked in the past. We want to be content.
Of course, in regard to material possessions we must be content. Look at what Paul says in Philippians 4:11 – 13.
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
But in regards to our spiritual status we must never be content. In Philippians 3:12 – 14 Paul says,
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
So don’t be content with where you are spiritually and with what you are doing in ministry. Don’t look back with pride on your accomplishments and bask in the past successes and recognition. God still has more for you to learn and to do. Press on!