I am almost finished my bible study on the Fruit of the Spirit. This week I am studying about self-control which, once again, has been so timely and so right on for what I am going through. I just wanted to share some of what I read today. By the way, I love how this study leads me through TONS of Scripture! God's Word is so powerful!
"We live in a culture motivated by one major goal--a little bit more. We work too hard and make too little. We have more than enough to live complicated lives, but less than enough to be contented."
The study today went into learning about Solomon--the wisest of the wise, the greatest of all kinds, the wealthiest of men, the most accomplished in all he sought to do. However, as Ecclesiastes so abundantly portrays, Solomon discovered that searching after the pleasures of this life is all in vain.
"All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
[. . .]
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a string after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:8-9; 2:11
Solomon goes on to explain that there is something that can bring joy, that can result in living a life with purpose, instead of chasing after the wind.
"Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possession and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil--this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart." Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
The author goes on to explain some things regarding these verses! Her words were very convicting to me:
"Two very important points of emphasis appear in this verse:
1. God gives wealth and possessions.
2. Only God can enable us to enjoy them.
Are you finding it difficult to 'accept' your lot? Only God can give you a heart of acceptance! Are you miserable in your job? Only God can make you happy in your work! Contentment with your present position and state of prosperity, no matter how vast or small, can only come from Him! But only you can allow God to work contentment in you."
Wow! I needed to hear that. Finally, here are a few other Scripture verses regarding money, possessions, and contentment that were beneficial to me.
"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." 1 Timothy 6: 6-9
"In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge." Proverbs 14:26
"Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?"
or lest I be poor and stead and profane the name of my God."
"He knows our needs. He knows our vulnerabilities. He knows what we can endure...yet remain faithful. All things are his to give and His to take, but never ours to pursue. Ours is to gladly receive and gladly return."
I totally needed to hear all of this today. I struggle off and on with our current season of life, wishing often that we could move on to that "next phase." A bigger house, more space, maybe some new furniture? Instead of trusting that where the Lord has us is what is best for us. Instead of being thankful and praising Him for providing for all that we need and more. My heart is greedy and struggles with these things all the time! Those things are not bad....God loves to provide and bless his children, and one day he will give us those things. It's my heart that has the problem!
Also, I am convicted just about being content and joyful in my day to day life. God has blessed me tremendously, but joy in caring for the kids day in and day out is sometimes difficult. I see that that joy is truly a gift, not something that I can manifest in and of myself----but boy do I try! I don't want to look back tomorrow at the end of the day, or next year, or in ten years and see that I was chasing after the wind in any way.
I know that as a Christian I have an eternity in heaven and an eternal reward waiting for me. The "toils" of wiping bottoms, picking up toys, answering endless questions, fixing hair bows, and being consistent in discipline and training....they are a gift. They are my portion. I wouldn't trade them for anything. But, only God can give me joy in doing those things. Lord, please give me overflowing joy!