My wife and I were blessed to spend an extended amount of time in counseling and in prayer times with godly mentors over the last few years. The fruit of these times has been an untraditional experience of what I’d call contentment. We have been learning what rest in the midst of all out work seasons looks like, how to be calm in the arms of the LORD though constantly bombarded by things we could choose to fear or worry about based on health or media professionals’ predictions or announcements.
Contentment is not apathy but instead is a state of peace no matter the context. True contentment is found in the reality that Jesus’ death and now life for the genuine believer is a seriously satisfying gift! With this gift in hand, all odds can be just context and hope truly is given in full measure! The genuine believer carries the sufferings of Christ in their heart and is ready even for martyrdom let alone opposition or slander or cruelties from relatives or close friends, hits on one’s character even by your closest loved ones, etc. In the reality of Jesus’ death for us and life in us, we can walk with our heads held high and hearts built up to love and serve others both near and far to ourselves with relentless kindness and endurance.
Why is this?
With Christ’s death we learn of God’s self-giving nature. We learn that our truly and fully content God didn’t need Heaven to include us, and yet didn’t want Heaven to exclude us, as the Hillsong lyric says, “You didn’t want Heaven without us, so Jesus, You brought Heaven down.”
Want a solution for your depression? Consider Jesus’ death. What?! My family line has a history of depression, and I’ve learned through prayer and Scripture study and refreshing counseling and more prayer and godly friends’ help… I’ve learned that God has made such an indelible impression upon our lives through His death on the cross that my depression can be resolved because His lows were so much lower than mine! Our God took our lows to the grave, our sinfulness being more evil than we could ever imagine when revealed in the presence of His holiness. Jesus took this sinfulness and bled for me and for all who simply entrust their souls to this faithful Creator while doing good.
What a remedy. My heart’s meditation has a picture of God pressing His hand down into the soil of this shaking, quaking, breaking earth, pressing His holy and huge hand down lower than our lowest lows and most wicked sins. The, He placed His own being on the cross as the Son, bled for our sin, His blood pouring into that cavity in the earth, our contribution to the wickedness of humanity as well as the sinful nature we were handed by our forefathers and mothers. For each soul that rightly recognizes Jesus, this cavity of evil that we participate in is filled with the blood of Jesus. It’s both wonderful and so sad. Our plight is very severe, though we will never be able to rightly recognize how evil sin really is. This crater of evil is filled with the blood of Jesus and we grow up into Jesus! This seed, this dying, this quandary of impossible vileness is made into a beautiful awakening of grace and hope in the death of Jesus as we dwell on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection!
May we together as genuine followers of Jesus grow up into Jesus’ righteousness! May we walk in newness of life, pouring over, brimming with the joy that is set before us, the same joy that gave Jesus the vision to endure the cross!
What does it mean for us too to despise the shame. I’m not a perfect student of Scripture, but letting Scripture interpret Scripture, looking more broadly at what we see in God’s attitude, the world’s attempts, Satan’s attempts, and our own remaining sinfulness seeking to drag us back to depression and sinful sulking… To despise the shame means we can walk out of that pit of sinfulness! Jesus filled it with His own body, His own blood! There is no room for us anymore! He despised the shame and DELT WITH IT in His body on the tree!
Sin and shame are silenced and a better Word is spoken! We are now willing servants of the King of kings. We are sons and daughters if the King Himself. If we would really embrace what this means our demeanor would be so consistently turned toward joy in the Savior. I’m not saying we won’t struggle and have discouraging days or even seasons, but our JOY will steadily increase and our contentment will be more and more real, something people can truly reach out and get a grip on as they encounter God’s love and truth through genuine Jesus followers! Hope in this life is truly and consistently possible in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!