What if I were to tell you that you can find joy and contentment in the desert times of life?
I have to admit I struggle in the ‘desert’ times of life when I don’t know if I am on the right path and when I struggle to hear God’s voice. In the desert, I find it really hard to be content with my situation, let alone joyful!
In the book of Philippians Paul joyfully encourages the church. This is interesting because at the time that he is writing he is chained up in prison. He is suffering yet he shares the secret of contentment.
Paul talks about being content in every circumstance, Philippians 4:10-13. What is he so content about? It surely can’t be in the food and accommodation!
Paul is content because of Christ. Christ died for him and saved him and that doesn’t change no matter what circumstance he finds himself in. It shows us that Paul had a ‘Christ Alone’ mentality where nothing else matters.
Unlike Paul, I wonder whether we have a ‘Christ plus something’ mentality that is robbing us of our contentment and joy? We have accepted Christ’s gift of salvation but in order to be content in life we want ‘Christ plus’ other things? Christ plus a really great job, Christ plus financial security, Christ plus happiness, Christ plus all these things. We sing songs like Christ is enough for me, Christ is my reward and the joy of my salvation… but do we really think He is enough for us or do we really want ‘Christ plus’?
It is really easy to answer the ‘Christ plus’ question when everything is going well. We feel great when we are full of faith and joy, with everything working out just the way we want it. We feel fabulous that God is with us so nothing can come against us. However, the ‘Christ plus’ question is better answered in the desert. When everything has not worked out as you thought, when you can’t see the wood from the trees and when you are feeling deeply hurt.
I had to ask myself the ‘Christ plus’ question. It didn’t like having to answer it. Results had not turned out the way I had hoped, leaving me extremely hurt and disillusioned. I felt lost, let down and more than a little frustrated with God. I was saying to God, “You gave me that desire, you gave me that gifting, so why aren’t you making this work out?”
But isn’t that a ‘Christ plus’ attitude?
Now, I am not saying we should not pursue the things God has placed in our hearts; I would always strongly encourage you to go for it. What I am saying is that your contentment and joy should not be determined by the success of those pursuits.
The joy we have needs to be based on Christ alone, where even if all was stripped away we will not be crushed and jaded. It is where we can find contentment, and dare I say joy because Christ is indeed enough for us.
Our circumstances do not determine our contentment and joy, Christ’s complete sacrifice does. This is how we find joy and contentment in the desert
Thank you for Christ’s sacrifice for me. I hold everything you have given me with an open hand because Christ alone is enough for me.