Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Contented Endurance

I read an interesting article recently about the trials and persecution that the westernized church is likely to experience in the coming decade. Honestly, it made me uncomfortable to face the reality that I very well may live long enough to see my happy, safe little church life come too an end - that I could actually experience some serious persecution in my lifetime. I didn't like that idea quite frankly. But Jesus said it will happen (Matthew 24:6-14) and in my resistance towards that inevitably, I am hoping that Jesus' words don't come to pass and am essentially hoping my Lord is a liar.

This is not to say that I should just throw up my hands and stop trying to influence the world for good because it's all got to pot anyways. As a Christian, I am told to endure despite my circumstances. To have hope, when everything seems hopeless in this world (John 16:33) and to never tire of doing good (2 Thess 3:13).  Endure, endure, endure - in all things endure.

I am also told to be content with my circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). Contentment and endurance are to co-exist within my heart and my life. This brought about an interesting realization for me - what does it look like to endure and to be content? How does one effect the other?

So often, when I picture "enduring" it conjurers images of oh-poor-me-martyrdom and pushing through difficult circumstances (sometimes often with a grim outlook). But then when I think about contentment, I know that it means rejoicing even in difficult circumstances and not letting those circumstances get to you. It would seem that one's contentment deeply influences one's ability or need to endure.

How often could I avoid feeling like I have to endure something when, if I was just content in the first place, a lot of those "problems" that I have to "endure" wouldn't even be considered as problems by my contented heart? Example: Contentment means being satisfied with what you have (Hebrews 13:5), so if I lived with that kind of contentment, I would no longer have to "endure" many of the financial stresses I face. I wouldn't have to "endure" my job if I was just content in the fact that I have one. If I am content, my "hardships" become relative and many of them disappear, leaving less things to endure.

Q4U- Has there been a time when you had to endure a trying circumstance that could have been lessened by a spirit of contentment?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got some Notions of your own about this post? Share them!