and why contentment?
Proverbs says that "a tranquil heart is life to the body" - I want to nurture a tranquil heart, a calm heart, a contented heart, a steady heart. So that my marriage, my home, and my ministry are emanating a sweet gratitude in all things.
This is the thing. I think we go through cycles in our walk with the Lord. We're not going in circles, mind you. But I am seeing that as the Lord teaches me more of Himself, as I share in the fellowship of His sufferings in so many very small ways, I am seeing something akin to cycles emerge from the beautiful mess. And this is one of those times where I sense that I am coming to the issue of contentment once again - we've cycled around to it. Not in a circular way. Haha, okay, done clarifying.
In the book of Ezra (7:10, to be exact), we read that the prophet "set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes." This order of events was a big "Aha!" moment for me a few years back. Ezra set his heart to it first, and studied. He didn't blog about it or lecture anyone. He set his heart to the study of the Word. And then he practiced it. He let the law of the Lord work itself out in and through him. The practice of God's Word transforming His life. And then, when those two things were in place, he began to teach it.
I think it's still cyclical, yes. And we're certainly never done with the study and the practice. But I have been setting my heart to the study of contentment over the last eight or nine months and have begun to practice it. I'm not by any means in the "teach it" phase, but I want to bear witness to what I am hearing and learning as I continue in those first two stages of working out my salvation.
I believe God's life is at work in and through the lives of His children. I believe He delights in expressing Himself in us, as us. With the unique expression that is Christ in me, I want to continue on in the study of contentment and practice it in my heart and home, so as to bring glory to the Father. And I'm going to study a lot of the Epistles starting out.
If Paul can learn to be content, whatever the circumstances, then so can I. If Paul urges people to "do all things without grumbling or disputing", I want to take the challenge. I want to not want so much, not grumble so much, and not compare so much.
So that's kind of why, you guys. I want to set my heart to the study of contentment, so that I can be a more beautiful expression of the life of Christ.