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We must never be satisfied with who we are

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POSTED: February 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.

There is a tension in every life, and it is only exaggerated if you are a Christian. That tension has to do with satisfaction in life. God calls us to be "content" or satisfied with our circumstance in life. And yet He never wants us to be satisfied to be who we are right now. There is the constant call to grow, to become more, to be His disciple.

Paul faced this dilemma, and spoke about it in his letter to the Philippian church. In the third chapter of that letter he reminded his readers that he was not all that he wanted to be. He writes, "Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it…"

What Paul is saying in that verse is quite simple. He knew that there was much progress to be made in his life. He knew that he was not all that God wanted him to be. Living out the Christian life is a process. We never reach full maturity in this life, and we simply must not become satisfied with who we are. We are grateful to God for what He has already done in our lives, but we continue to strive to become more like Jesus. We refuse to stay stuck in the old patterns of life. There is a "holy dissatisfaction" with the status quo.

But in the very same letter Paul wrote in chapter four, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." Now how can that be? Just a bit earlier he spoke of striving to reach a goal, but here he says that he is content? What could he possibly mean?

Notice the differences. Paul was dissatisfied with his own behavior, but he was quite satisfied with God. God had been good to him. Paul was not worried that God would not meet his needs. He continued to trust the Lord, and he told his friends that they should do the same.

These are lessons that we need to learn, too. We are often the opposite of Paul. We are dissatisfied with our things, but quite content with our own behavior.

The fact is we live in the greatest place in the world. Even those with modest means have so much more than people in other places. We are so blessed. We should give thanks and be content for these blessings.

But we must never be satisfied with who we are and how we live. There is always room for improvement in how we treat others, and how we serve the Lord. Will you learn the lesson to be content in Christ, and to strive to be more like Him? Satisfied with God. Never content with who I am. That is God’s call to each of us.

 

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