Satisfaction with Life

Satisfaction is a curious sentiment, feeling, or a state of being. Contentment is likened to it. What is it to be satisfied in this life? I suppose it has a lot to do with how someone would define contentment. If their quality of life met the demands of their definition, we could call them satisfied. So, what are these demands, or conditions that must be met? Are they physical, spiritual, financial, or otherwise? Consider this:

If asked, would you say that your satisfaction with life is directly proportional to your financial situation?

A recent poll just released by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that it is. At least, that’s the case for the nearly 1,000 African Americans they polled. However, I doubt the numbers are in any way tied to a specific people. I would argue that this outlook pervades most races and classes.

The results of the poll aren’t terribly striking. We would expect them. It really seems common sense. The more well off one is financially, the greater that persons satisfaction with life.

But, is this the way it should be, especially for Christians?

I would argue that our satisfaction with life should have absolutely nothing to do with our financial situation. Is this a bold claim? It probably seems more bold to some than it should, because all we know is a culture that has adopted this way of life.

But God’s Word tells us that Jesus Christ came and lived and preached the good news of the kingdom to us so that his joy may be in us, and therefore that our joy would be complete (John 15:11). We are to believe in the good news of Jesus Christ. Abiding in Christ is where our joy rests, not in fleeting circumstances, not in earthly trials and tribulations, but in the person of Jesus Christ, who is God.

Amen.

Godly Grief and Repentance

In 2 Corinthians 7 Paul refers to the letter he wrote to the Corinthians that he knew would grieve them, for evidently he wrote it in order to rebuke sin that was occurring within the congregation. Writing these letters or emails is never easy. It’s not because it is fun that we do it, but because we strive for purity. We know that the Lord works in these times.

In the end, Paul was encouraged by writing this letter. So, what would lead to encouragement from having to write a letter of rebuke to those who were in his “heart”?

Their repentance.

Paul’s rebuke produced in them “godly grief” which was evidenced in their genuine repentance. They repented with “regret” and were “eager” to do so (v.11).

There is something worth noting here in what Paul says in v.12.

So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God.

When Paul wrote his rebuke wasn’t only directed at those who did wrong or were wronged, but for the whole community, so that they could be found earnest in their faith. The Corinthian congregation was part of this. This should evidence how the body works. It wasn’t the individuals that needed dealing with (it was that) but there was also a need for a corporate response. The congregation is what Paul ultimately addressed. We cannot heed this message enough in our day of individualized Christianity. The church needs to know once again the dependence of individuals Christians on the corporate body.

There are implications in this example as to how we should deal with sin in the church. The way that Paul and the Corinthians handled these issues is a far cry from how we deal with (or don’t deal with) sin in our congregations.

But look at what we are depriving ourselves of. These actions increase our affections and ultimately our joy! Joy that can only be found in Christ through his strength to carry out this kind of lifestyle per 2 Timothy 3;16.

The Prayer Life

Here is an excerpt from the first of three articles on prayer by Micah McCormick over at Credo Magazine.

Specifically, we need God to fill us with joy. The Christian life is filled with tribulation, but it is not a life in which God has called us merely to hang in there. Jesus says that he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). He tells his disciples, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). True joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)—it is not natural but supernatural.

and…

To those of you brothers and sisters in Christ who deeply struggle with joy, let me gently ask you: how much do you pray? It is easy to turn to other good things when we feel discouraged. I freely admit I love listening to John Piper sermons. I love to read John Frame. I happen to go to a church where I hear Tom Schreiner and Bruce Ware teach on a regular basis—what a privilege. And yet, Jesus doesn’t say, “Learn under gifted teachers and your joy will be full.” He calls us to pray.

This is only one of the points he makes in the article, but it’s one that we often overlook, I think, concerning our life of prayer. Read the whole article here:

Praying to the Glory of God-Part 1