"But godliness with contentment is great gain." - 2 Timothy 6:6 NIV
It's Tuesday, January 3rd and I've already broken a resolution. I had resolved this year to be faithful in writing my blog Monday through Friday every week. Obviously, I missed Monday of this week and I'm okay with that! So, no more resolutions for me but there are some things I am going to strive for this year and would like to be held accountable for.
Last year, I decided to strive to become less judgemental, less critical of others. Was I always successful.....NO! But I was more aware of when I was judging or criticizing other people. That's something I want to continue in 2012. I want to see others as Jesus sees them: created by God, beautiful, worthy of love and attention. That includes the homeless person on the corner, the drug addict down the street, the gang member in the mall, the small child having a temper tantrum, the grouchy old gentleman in the grocery store. The second greatest commandment in the Bible is to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39 NIV). May I not judge anyone else but just show them the love that Jesus has given to me.
I am also going to strive to be a more hope-filled Christian. As my devotional says: "Pessimism and Christianity don't mix". I'm an optimist by nature but there have been times when I've made the choice to be upset or downcast by circumstances beyond my control. I've allowed the situation to define my attitude and ruin my peace and joy. Jesus is with me wherever I go and whatever circumstance I find myself in. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NIV); He is my burden-bearer. When I find myself burdened by the things of this world - and I will - I want to remember that Jesus has conquered the world (John 16:33 NIV) and in Him I can have confident peace and hope.
The last thing I want to strive for this year is contentment. As this verse in Timothy says, that will be great gain for me. The world tells me that I can only be content and happy if I have a big home, drive a fancy car, eat in the best restaurants, travel the world, stay in the finest hotels, have money in the bank. I can honestly say I have a modest home, an older, well used Tahoe, the fanciest restaurant I eat at is Texas Roadhouse, I travel when I can afford it and either stay with family or find the least expensive motel and have very little money in the bank. But, I have a husband who loves me, wonderful children and grand-children, the best parents and siblings a person could ask for, friends I wouldn't trade for all the gold and silver in the world. I also have Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I have Him with me at all times. I have a mansion waiting for me in Heaven. I have eternal life. I have someone to lean on during the most trying times of my life. I have a God who can do the impossible if I just have faith. May I focus on all God has given me and be a content Christian this year!
"Contentment is one of the most distinguishing traits of the godly person, because a godly person has his heart focused on God rather than on possessions or position or power." - Jerry BridgesDear Heavenly Father, these are the things I am striving for this year: being less critical and loving others like Jesus does and becoming more hope-filled and content with all You've given me. Let me seek You first and not give in to anger, pessimism and discontent. Guide my thoughts each day; may they be obedient to Christ and reflect Your love for me. In Jesus' name, Amen.