Christine Caine - Re-Vision: A Heavenly Perspective - Part 1
Hey, I'm so grateful that you've joined us today. You know, every single one of us can fall into the trap of discontentment. We somehow can believe the lie, if we would just accumulate more, acquire more, amass more, or were just more in general, then we would be happier. I think we've discovered that that's not the truth. Today, we're going to go on a journey, and we're going to find what the key to contentment really is. I cannot wait to dive into the word with you.
Hey, everyone, I am so grateful that you've joined us today. I know that our God has a word in season just for you, so open up your heart to receive from God. You know, Nick and I, we travel a lot to do what God has called us to do through our work with Equip and Empower and a-21. We actually have 18 a-21 offices in 13 countries all around the world, and we oversee three church in Thessaloniki, Greece and Sophia, Bulgaria and Warsaw, Poland, plus all of the conferences and churches that you have the privilege to speak at all over the world. Well, because of my constant travel, it's sometimes difficult for me to just to a different time zone, and so I find myself up sometimes in Europe at 2 A.M. watching something on TV, and normally it's like late night infomercials, and I'm already in a jet-lagged delirium, and that's about all I can handle. And I don't want to think too much, and so I'm watching these infomercials.
Now, the amazing thing is this I am absolutely stunned at how many things I see on these infomercials that I never knew I needed before I turned on that TV set. I mean, these are essential things for life like there was once this pickle picker. Now, I don't know how I survived all of these decades using a fork to get my pickles out of a jar when I could have been using a pickle picker all of that time. Now, did you know they advertise creams on these late night infomercials that can make me unrecognizable, it says, in two weeks, in two weeks. I mean, Nick would not even know who I was in only two weeks if I bought that special miracle cream. I've seen juicers and blenders and knives that I just knew I could not live without, and machines that would give me a six pack abs in just a few short weeks. And they promise that I don't even need to exercise, and I can get new abs.
And the pinnacle for me was once when I saw this easy egg cracker. I mean, when I saw the infomercial for the egg cracker, I didn't just want one, I wanted two egg crackers. I mean, how had I spent the last 50 years of my life cracking eggs with my own hands when I could have had an easy egg cracker for this very purpose? So basically, this is how the infomercial works. This is kind of the, I guess, the psychology behind it. I was inspired that I would cook more egg if I got an egg cracker. So a need was created in me for an egg, and then the deal was offered that if I bought two egg crackers, I would get the third one for free. And then they made me a promise. They said that me life would never, ever be the same. And of course, a celebrity was promoting it. So if I bought it, I just might be famous like them. So all of my life, I had been content with how I cracked eggs, but one infomercial suddenly made me discontent with the way I cracked eggs.
Tune that every single marketing campaign is designed to make us discontent. They try to convince us that we cannot be happy without something more. If we just buy this one thing, then wore going to be happier, then wore going to be thinner. We could be smarter, we could be better, and that will make us more content. So contentment is always just out of reach. We think this we will find it with we get into the right school or when we graduate or when we get a pay raise or when we for identification the right partner or when we get a better friend, when we buy a new car, or maybe we get a new house, or we go on that holiday. We're going to be content. We find ourselves living in a chronic state of discontentment. I think the social media does not help things at all. We might be feeling okay about our own kitchen until we get on Pinterest and see somebody else's. We might feel okay about our kids until we get on Instagram and see someone else with their kids of the... we might feel okay with our holiday until we see someone else's well-cropped, edited and filtered holiday. And we might be excited about our new sneakers until we see someone else's better sneakers. We are happy with the school we got our kids got into, until we find out our friends got into a different school that we were not accepted into.
So the list goes on and on and on and on. And as a society, we seem to be on the never ending quest for something better, whatever is next. We want a better job with a better pay and a better boss. We want better relationships and a better body and a better house and a better car, and we tend to live endlessly for the next thing, the next weekend, the next vacation, the next purchase, and the next experience. We're never satisfied. We're never content. We're envious of those who have what we haven't attained or accumulated yet, and yet, the reality is we know that after some short-term gratification, most things will leave us empty. Listen, no matter how many things I buy, after a late night infomercials binge, I will get wrinkled. I am going to get yolk on my hands. That ab cruncher is going to break. The pickle picker is going to get lost. The clothes, they're going to go out of fashion. The economy will fluctuate. Governments will change. People do leave, and everyone will die at some point.
I hope you're feeling encouraged at this point. You're like, Chris, really? This is what I tuned in for today? The bottom line is that true contentment can never be found out there on a quest for more, but I'm here to tell you today that true contentment is only be found in Christ alone. That's what we're going to discover today. Everything that you thought would give you significance and security out there, you will only find in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. True contentment, joy, peace, purpose, and hope is found in Christ alone. We're going to learn how to find true contentment from the apostle Paul today. He wrote a letter to the Philippians, and he was not writing it from a Greek resort in Santorini, but from a prison cell, and I want you to know the context. He wrote this letter from a prison where he was feeling sick, he was feeling weak, he was feeling persecuted, he was feeling alone, so these words are even more powerful.
In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul writes: Paul writes in the book of Philippians, "I have learned to be satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted" which is what contentment means. He has learned to be content because it is not our natural state. It isn't natural. We were not born with it. It's not a gift. Our tendency is to look for things that will make us content rather than putting forth the effort it takes to learn how to be content. I hope you caught that. We learn to be content. We don't stumble upon contentment. We know we are in an accelerated learning program when we find that we have lost most of the things that we were depending on, that brought us contentment, and we come face-to-face with the reality that we had based our contentment on having the right people, the right places, the right things in our life rather than in our relationship with Jesus.
Paul discover that contentment is found in the presence of Jesus, not in the absence of difficulties. Remember, he is writing this letter from prison. Paul has gone through so much suffering in his life. In ii Corinthians 11:24-28, it astounds me, blows my mind. He writes: y'all, what is your problem? As we can see, Paul had serious difficulties in his life, and I can't fathom how you could endure 39 lashes five times or being stoned, not California-style stoned, that style stoning, or being shipwrecked. I get sea sick while in the harbor. And he faced danger from friends and enemies, and yet he used these as a school, a learning center. Instead of allowing these difficulties to take him out, he learned to be content. Paul had to learn contentment, and if we are going to run our race and finish our course, so must we.
The secret of contentment is in Christ alone nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. We can be content in Christ because the cornerstone of contentment is the cross. Because of the cross, we are free from the chains of sin. Because of the cross, our salvation is secure. Because of the cross, our friendship with God is possible. Because of the cross, our future in heaven is guaranteed. We must keep an eternal perspective if we're going to find contentment here on earth. Keep looking up to Jesus. Keep focused on the cross and what it means for us. The only way to stay in a constant state of contentment is to maintain an eternal perspective. In ii Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul writes: in the midst of our circumstances, we do not fix our eyes on the seen but the unseen. We are living in chaotic times, divided times, uncertain times, rapidly-changing times, and it would be easy to fall into despair and discontentment, so we must pro-actively choose to learn to be content. We have to learn to find our contentment this Christ.
May your heart, may my heart, find rest in Jesus. May our hearts find contentment in Jesus. May our hearts find joy in Jesus. May our hearts find peace in Jesus. And you know what the paradox is? That when we find our contentment in Christ, we cannot remain satisfied with where we are. This concept absolutely blows me away. I'm not talking about a contentment that actually is so comfortable that we don't do what we are called to do or become who we are called to become. When we find our contentment in Christ and not in things, we actually want to become more like Jesus. We actually want to fulfill our God-given purpose because we're no longer disturbed or disquieted by what is happening around us. Our contentment is in Christ. I want you to remember that the same man that said, "I have learned to be content" also said in Philippians 3:12-14: the apostle Paul is content, but not yet satisfied.
You know when you've had a meal, and you say, man, I'm content, but there's still some room, especially for dessert. In the same way, it's from a place of contentment in Christ that I have a divine dissatisfaction to know him more, to know his word more, to fulfill my purpose more. I want to do all that he has put me on this earth to do. Jesus fills me and simultaneously creates a hunger for more of him in me. The more I know him, the more of him there is to know. The more I love him, the more of him there is to love. I am content, but I'm not satisfied. To be content but not satisfied keeps us growing, keeps us stretching, keeps us grasping, keeps us clinging, keeps us hungry, keeps us moving, keeps us changing for more of him and his purpose for my life: not for more stuff, not for more accolades, not for position, not for title, more of Jesus. Contentment with divine dissatisfaction is not staggered, but ever-moving and ever-changing.
I am content in Christ, but I'm not satisfied that people of trafficked. I'm not satisfied that children are hungry. I'm not satisfied that there is injustice in the world. I'm not satisfied that there are people that to not know Jesus, that people do not have access to water. They're dying of preventable diseases. I am content in Christ, but I have a divine dissatisfaction. My contentment in Christ moves me to action on earth. I want to play my part to see his kingdom come, his will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. I want to remind us today that we have a very real enemy that does not want us to be content. If our contentment is ultimately in Christ, he will work to undermine our relationship with Jesus, our trust in the goodness of Jesus, our faith in the provision of Jesus. In order to find contentment in Christ, we must understand that there are some very real enemies of contentment. If we can understand the things that are prone to make us discontent, we, more likely, are going to be able to guard our hearts and stay in a place of contentment in Christ.
First, we need to acknowledge our own unrealistic expectations. We must accept people as they are, not as we want them to be. We often want our friends or our spouse or our kids or our coworkers to be and act a certain way, and then are discontent when they don't measure up. We would be a lot more content if we accept people as they are and stop wishing and hoping they were someone else. We must always aim to please God and not people. You will never be able to please all of the people all of the time, and you will live in a constant state of discontentment if you do not settle this one. Do it for the audience of one, and you will have a lot more contentment in our life. Don't let the opinions of people you do not know online make you discontentment off line. Don't expect more from yourself than God does. So often we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves, and we live in a constant state of discontentment because we do not measure up. Chill out.
I want you to know today that you're enough. God loves you. This is a journey. No one has arrived. You can also have unrealistic expectations about when something should happen, and end up discontent. You put a due date on what God has a due season for. I need to be married by that date. I need to have the promotion by that date. I need to have kids by that date. I need to buy a house by that date. And so the list goes on. You put a due date on what God has a due season for, and then you end up discontent. It's an unrealistic expectation, and you have unnecessarily put pressure on yourself to have something by a certain time when God does not ever say it would happen in that time-frame. You can be become discontent because you have unrealistic expectations of friends and family. You want instant responses to your text messages or unconditional yes for everything. You want from them, but you cannot expect to get from people what you can only get from God. Your contentment, your significance, your security, must come from Jesus. You will be chronically discontent if you have unrealistic expectations of people, and the way you think life should go in your time-frame.
There are too many things out of our control for that to happen. Jesus is the only one that is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Everything and everyone else changes, including you and including me. So let's not allow unrealistic expectations to keep us from being content. Another enemy of contentment is unfair comparisons. This one will rob you of your contentment every single time. It's going to take a lot of strength to refuse to compare yourself with others, to not try and keep up with what everyone else is doing or has. You may have to stop scrolling through other people's lives. You may have to change some friendship groups. You need to do whatever you have to do to not fall into the comparison trap. You and I simply have to accept that there will always be someone better, someone more gifted, someone more talented, someone faster, coming up behind you. God is not asking you to be the biggest, the best, the fastest. He's asking you to be you. We are all created in his image. We all have a place and purpose in his body. We all have value and dignity.
Let's choose to not play the comparison game and play the contentment one instead. I'm inspired by others. I rejoice in others' gifts and talents, and I celebrate others. I am so grateful for others, but I am the only me in Christ that there will ever be. Therefore, I'm content to be me. This battle is one of the biggest ones that we're going to have to fight in our social media generation. Paul writes in ii Corinthians 10:12, "Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves, but when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding". The comparison trap will lead us to discontentment 100% of the time.
Another enemy of discontentment is that of unnoticed blessings. You can get so busy thinking about all the things that you've not yet seen come to fruition that you forget to actually appreciate the things God has given you. Can I remind you today not to take for granted what you have and focus on what you don't have and what isn't happening. I've had to cultivate the practice of writing down what I to have, what God has done, to force myself to not obsessively ruminate about all the things that I wish God was doing and that he would make happen for me. Look at what God is doing for you. Uncontrolled ambition is another enemy of contentment. It literally does not matter how much you accomplish, if you do not master contentment, you will be miserable. I have a friend who sacrificed his family for that one extra deal at work. He kept chasing one more deal, traveling extensively, neglecting his family, because he wanted to prove to his dad that he could be the top salesman in his company. He wanted to acquire as many status symbols as he could. He needed the newest model of the car, the biggest house, the best clothes, and so it went. It just brought stress and anxiety, addiction, eventually adultery into his life.
The chasing of possessions for possessions' sake brought no ultimate contentment. Possessions should remain possessions and never become possessors. And the find enemy of contentment I want to talk about today is unbelief. This is when we no longer trust God to meet all of our needs. This is when we think that if only I had this thing or I knew that person or I had that job or got into that school or lived in that neighborhood or married that person, then I would be content. I call this the peril of if-when. We need something or someone else to make us content instead of learning to be content here and now and believing God for the abundant life he promised. Our contentment is in him. The blessing is the abundant life. We still have him no matter where we find ourselves in this season. Paul writes, "I can do all thing through him who gives me strength".
I want to remind you today that Jesus is everything. When we are weak, he is strong. When we fall, he lifts us. When we fail, he forgives you. When we are lost, he is the way. When we are afraid, he is our courage. When we stumble, he steadies us. When we hurt, he heals you. When we are broken, he mends us. When we are blind, he leads us. When we are hungry, he feeds us. When we are persecuted, he shields us. When we face loss, he provides us. We can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. Our confidence comes from Christ. We can deal with anything in Christ. In him, we can overcome any obstacle. We can survive any test. There is no promise that is too hard for God to keep. There is no prayer that is too hard for God to answer. There is no problem that is too hard for God to solve. There is no person that is too hard for God to save. There is no mountain that is too big for God to move. There is no need that is too great that our God cannot meet. There is no disease that our God cannot heal. There is no heart that is too broken that our God cannot mend. There is nothing our God cannot do. That's true. Let's learn to be content in him.