My title is “Living with contentment and confidence” but I have not written about it for a long time. There are two emotional “states of being” or attitudes I am searching for in this world: contentment and confidence. Contentment and confidence are emotional “states of being” that do not depend on circumstances. If there is an order, then confidence seems to come first. Perhaps confidence produces contentment and contentment leads to more confidence. They work together, but I will begin with confidence. When I have confidence to approach the throne of grace and speak freely then I will be content with whatever God gives me.
My primary scripture for confidence is Hebrews 4:14-16: Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I am not referring to self-confidence or overconfidence. Many people try to give themselves confidence with “self-talk.” People say, “I can do it! I am strong. I am smart. I am confident.”
This scripture gives me two reasons for confidence. First, the Person who sits on the throne, Jesus the Son of God. The GR word for “confidence” means “freedom in speaking, boldness of speech, frankness, openness.” This is because we are approaching a “throne of grace” with prayer requests. We can speak freely and honestly to the Person on the throne, but respectfully. Imagine a knight kneeling before his king and saying, “May I speak freely and openly with you, my king?” Jesus the Son of God can sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tested with all the temptations of the world – the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). He was tempted to take the easy way and avoid the hard way of the cross. Second, it is a throne of GRACE. Nobody has confidence to approach condemnation or judgment. A supervisor calls you to his office about a problem and you anticipate condemnation and judgment. You do not approach his office with confidence. You feel anxiety. Nobody likes to approach a person, a boss, a parent, or spouse, when he/she anticipates condemnation and judgment. The confidence we have to approach the throne is not based on achievement or possessions. It is based on a relationship with the Person who loves me. Jesus the Son of God has grace toward me, and grace is “unmerited favor.” We can approach his throne with confidence because of who He is and what He has done. Our confidence is not based on what we have or do not have. It is based on a relationship.
There are demonic terrorists that try to kill confidence and contentment. The terrorists attack confidence with fear, guilt, condemnation, and feelings of inadequacy. God said there is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear because fear is related to judgement. 1 John 4:17-19: “In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.” This is true because God is love (v. 16). Jesus Christ proved the Father’s love when He sacrificed His life to save sinners. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
I am confident that God finishes what He starts. Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The GR word for “confidence” here is assurance. We can be assured, based on past performance, God finishes what He starts. I have unfinished projects. God has no unfinished projects. God began His project at creation and will complete it at consummation – Genesis to Revelation.
My primary scripture for contentment is Philippians 4:10-13: But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Contentment is not based on how many things we have or do not have. Contentment is based in a relationship that will never leave us. I have left many relationships behind after serving five churches. Christ never left me.
Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret.” What is the secret of contentment? Many commercials claim to have discovered the “secret” to a problem and then sell the secret. “I have discovered the secret to effortless weight loss! It is not diet and exercise.” The GR word for “secret” refers to an initiation ceremony or just learning a practical lesson. Paul did not discover the secret of contentment and tried to sell it. He learned it as a practical lesson. He learned that Christ was able to sustain him in any and every circumstance. That means Paul had to experience any and every circumstance to know Christ. If we pray for God to immediately and miraculously deliver us from any and every anxiety-producing circumstance, then we will never know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
We are content in any and every circumstance because Christ gives us strength. There is no fear in contentment, no panic, no stress. Christ gives us peace when we are poor and keeps us from pride when we have more than enough. This is true because our contentment is based in a relationship and not what we have or do not have. Contentment resists the world and the things in the world, the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). When contentment rules our souls, these desires have no attraction to us or pull on us.
There are demonic terrorists that try to kill confidence and contentment. I visited the big beautiful custom-built house of a friend from church. The house had many decorated rooms filled with many possessions. The terrorist of envy tried to kill my contentment. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s lifestyle, house, possessions, and cars.” Contentment protected my heart from envy. Gratitude for my blessings protected my heart from covetousness. There are people who have much more than me. There are more people who have much less than me. Discontentment would be ingratitude to God and a sin.
Confidence and contentment do not depend on what we have or do not have, but on a relationship with a heavenly Father who loves us and keeps His promises.