Below is a review of our past 4 weeks of study in “The Virtue of Contenment”
In Week 1 we “dug deeper” into
our “feelings” or “emotions” (that are often NOT rooted in truth) and the roller coaster we can be on that keeps us from the steady peace & joy the Lord desires for us to have (contentment)
In Week 2 we “dug deeper” into
our relationships…both with each other, and with the Lord, and how past experiences can influence the way we “see” things…distorting our view of WHO we are and WHOSE we are. (Distracting our focus, adding confusion and creating discontent)
In Week 3 we “dug deeper” into
the importance of operating from our “owners manual” ( God’s Holy Word) and the effects of “running our machine” outside the “manufacturers guidelines”. Sticking to our owner’s manual (God’s Word) under the instruction of the Holy Spirit will prevent our wandering, which leads to sin, which leads to consequences, which leads to despair…lacking peace. (contentment)
This week (week 4) we “dug deeper” into
the inward “glance.” Our tendency to focus inward, striving to attain what the Lord longs to bless us with -trying to take it for ourselves using our own strength… The quest for perfectionism…and the problem of looking BACK. We have also been considering our fears…their roots…and the power we can have in Christ to overcome them!
These behaviors keep us from moving forward “toward the prize of our upward call” which will lead to “God’s peace that guards our hearts” from these very stumbling blocks. The stumbling blocks that keep us from “finding joy in all circumstances.”
To restate one of our scripture references from this week…
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-9
THE LORD IS AT HAND (we don’t have to be anxious-HE’S in charge! )
PRAY (with gratitude) ABOUT EVERYTHING! (we don’t have to try to be perfect- God’s power is made PERFECT in our weakness)
MAKE YOUR REQUESTS KNOWN (our God is listening and is faithful to answer)
GOD TEACHES US THINGS WE DO NOT KNOW (the Holy Spirit reveals truth that is beyond our human understanding and reasoning- RIGHTEOUS THINKING VS. HUMAN REASONING)
GOD’S PEACE/ PRESENCE WILL GUARD OUR HEARTS AND MINDS (God protects us from sin that causes separation from God, destruction, confusion, lack of peace, and discontent)
OUR HEARTS NEED PROTECTING! God would not say it, if it were not so.
HEARTS…THEY ARE THE “WELL SPRING OF LIFE” EVERYTHING FLOWS FROM OUR HEART! (What goes in, comes out)
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
The NIV puts it like this :
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
ABOVE ALL ELSE…guard your heart. ABOVE ALL ELSE….ABOVE….ALL….ELSE.
Let’s consider our lack of protection.
We throw all kinds of things in our heart…
unhealthy relationships / lies we believe (because we haven’t measured them with God’s Word : Acts 17:11) / daily, worldly, media / idols …(anything that rules our day apart from God)
God is telling us we must be pro ACTIVE…BUT, in order to do so, we must have GOD’S peace if we are to protect our hearts
The PEACE that guards our hearts comes from KNOWING God.
(Abiding) -click on abiding to visit the pre-study on this topic!
We have something valuable to GUARD. It is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING we are to DO…ABOVE ALL ELSE…GUARD your HEART.
When we leave our heart UNGUARDED… the enemy steals what God “longs” to bless us with. (Isaiah 30:18)
The root of our DISCONTENT is an unguarded heart.
This idea of contentment…is a REAL THING that we can have.
It is something in which the fruits are plentifu!
love. joy. peace. patience. kindness. gentleness. faithfulness. goodness. & self-control.
OUR HEARTS HAVE GONE A LONG TIME WITHOUT PROTECTION.
Only the Father, can reveal to you what you’ve “let in” and only through Christ, can it be “cleaned out.”
IT’S SPRING CLEANING TIME!
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Let’s get to some cleaning…
BUT, Instead of our busy “DOING” we must get to the ACTION of BEING STILL IN SURRENDER. LISTENING, AND THEN FOLLOWING.
Abiding in Christ leads…
to NOT being led by our emotions
to NOT being defined by others, but by our God alone
to following our “owner’s manual” (God’s Word)- looking to our CREATOR and FATHER for WHO we are and WHOSE we are, having FAITH that He will provide all that we need
to moving forward in the direction God has for us to go, instead of taking the wheel ourselves…pushing beyond the past, to see the hope and good purpose that is before us in every circumstance
to protection against the enemy and the things of this world that cause us to look inward instead of upward.
to experiencing the presence of God every moment of every day…
experiencing His sovereignty, faithfulness, provision, and love.
It is within His presence, that we can know contentment.
Peace in every circumstance. Joy in all things.
Guard your heart. Practice His presence.
KNOW GOD, KNOW PEACE.
’til next week!