Proverbs 19:21 - Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
In my last post, we discussed that in order to find contentment, we must first make a commitment to change our attitudes from the old ones we had as unbelievers, which were focused on the things of the world, to a new one which is focused on the plan God has for our life. This is much easier said than done.
Committing to contentment means more than simply proclaiming that we are content. It is more than resigning ourselves to the fact that God has placed us wherever we are at so we might as well make the most of us. Rather, contentment is embracing that God is sovereign and authoritative over our lives and has ultimately placed us where we are for a purpose.
The best biblical illustration of someone who learned contentment was Queen Esther. Esther was the Jewish girl who became queen to the Persian King Xerxes, all while hiding her identity. Due to a plan by the King's right-hand man, Haman, Esther's cousin Mordecai requests that she reveal her identity in hopes to save the Jews. Many regard Esther 4:16 as Esther's declaration of commitment. Mordecai had declared the potential purpose of her placement in verse 14. However, after looking at the text and context, I believe that her reply to him is the desperate plea of an insecure young woman who had been virtually ignored by her royal king rather than a declaration of confidence. She, in essence, has declared her resignation to her fate. I'm sure Esther would have been just fine living in the royal palace, being pampered for the rest of her life, if plans could have gone her way. The realization of her purpose does not comes until AFTER the three days of preparation, where she acts with resolution, by bodly approaching the king, ultimately saving her people.
We can learn several lessons from this young queen. First, we learn that contentment does not consist of merely declaring ourselves to God's initiative, while ultimately feeling the pangs of resignation. It instead involves embracing where God has us and recognizing his purpose for that setting. Second, we can learn that preparation is involved in learning contentment. Esther gathered up her maidens and prepared for her encounter with the king. This consisted of spiritual, emotional, and physical preparations. In the same way, we can prepare for the plans God has for us. We can do this in many ways, including gathering others for support, prayer, etc. Finally, we learn that resolved contentment is shown through action. Queen Esther went boldly before the king and made her request not once, but twice. God honored her obedience.
The Challenge today is to look at where God has placed you (home, job, family, church, etc.). In what ways have you been discontent? What are some of your plans that might be causing discontentment? What are some possible plans God could have for you in those situations? What are some ways in which you can begin to act out your resolved contentment?