**I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.** Philippians 4:12
Yesterday we talked about contentment. We talked about our marriage and how we need to stop expecting our spouse to fulfill all of our needs, either spiritually or materially. Only God can do all of that. Our spouse is a help and an instrument that God may be using, but all of our hope should not be in that person. All good things come from God himself.
Godly contentment is strongly linked to our faith. If we don’t believe that God can take care of us, and we don’t trust the way that He does it, then our issue is not contentment but our faith. Belief and trust go together.
Paul, the Apostle, was not a man who had problems with his faith. He believed what God told him and he lived a life that demonstrated it. He was willing to fulfill his purpose and his calling at any risk, and at any price. None of the negative things that happened to him distracted him from is calling.
Paul is saying in this verse that on the good days and on the bad days he keeps his focus and his commitment. Like a marriage vow. But his vow was to God.
Contentment in marriage is about accepting today’s situation. If things are going great, we are happy, pleased, satisfied and at peace. These are our days of abundance.
If things are going badly, like my week has been, we should also be happy, pleased, satisfied and at peace. These are our days of affliction, of being abased.
But we need to remember a very important part of yesterday’s verse…
**I HAVE LEARNED**
I think sometimes we put ourselves under a huge expectation of having to get everything right the first time. Paul’s letters were after many years of Ministry. He says, I have learned!! He learned in Damascus, he learned in Jerusalem, in Corinth, in Galatia, in Ephesus, in Philippi and in Colosse. He learned from shipwrecks, stonings, beatings, and being left for dead. He had a LIFETIME of learning contentment.
So, let’s give ourselves a break. Let’s give ourselves some time to be able to react properly to really bad days. The natural response to problems is frustration, anger, whining, complaining, fighting, fretting, and crying. Yes, I have done most of that this week! and that’s OK! Because the first time we go through something, and the second, and maybe even the third, we are allowed to get it wrong. It’s not a high school test. We are allowed to fail again and again.
But then at some point, we need to learn to react better.
I’m not still mad, or fighting or complaining about our bad week. I’m accepting it for what it is, and working through it WITH my husband. We are doing what we can, and leaving the rest in God’s hands.
I accept this week of trials, because God means it for good. My husband and I are working together more as a team instead of against each other. We’re spending more time in prayer, asking for direction and solutions. And though I feel a bit stressed from thinking so much about how to take care of all these problems, I’m content in knowing that God knows what’s best for me. I’m yielding to his sovereignty in my life. I’m willfully saying, I accept my circumstances. I have not quite gotten to the place of being pleased and happy about it, but I am content to walk this path with God showing me the way. But, my friends it took me a few days to get here!
If contentment is not your automatic response to your problems or conflicts or heart aches, be patient with yourself. Give your faith time to grow and mature as Paul did. ** Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward**. You can count on it. You’re going to get a lot of practice.
And if in your marriage right now you are not completely content, just keep working at it. Do what’s right. Keep leaning on God. With time, He will and is able to make your marriage the best it can be.