Friday, February 12, 2010

Imperfect contentment and help

I was reading this morning in II Corinthians 7 today and was hit by a few things, hopefully you'll find them as insightful and encouraging as I did.

Here's the passage from chapter 7.

"....For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn- fighting without and fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more...."

1.) Although Paul had learned to be content whether well fed or hungry (Phil 4), he WASN'T ALWAYS content and we shouldn't put that pressure on ourselves and others. He had "fear within." Many times he wasn't content, and it wasn't simply sinful. Later in the chapter he speaks of "the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches (II Cor 11:28)."

And Jesus wasn't always content either, due to a world plagued by the presence of sin and death: his dear friend died (John 11), and let's not forget there was a people whom he "wanted to gather" to himself but many were "unwilling." (Matthew 23:37).

So its OK to not always be content. However, more often than not, we're discontent not because we're angered by the presence of sin in the world, but simply by our lack of getting what we want. There is a difference, but God's grace fortunately covers all of our unrighteous discontentment.

2.) God uses people to bring comfort. Sometimes it comes directly through the Holy Spirit (II Cor 1), but comfort is also "delivered" to our door through fellowship with others. The Lord's work in Titus, as well as Titus' bringing news of the Lord's work in the Corinthians, helped Paul along the way. And in this marathon race of living out our Christian faith, we need to keep all "pathways" of comfort open.

In the words of Bono, "Sometimes you can't make know, you can't take it...sometimes you can't make it on your own."

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