The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want (Psalm 23:1, NIV).
Friend to Friend
We all long for contentment. People know very little about contentment because they seek it in all the wrong places.
The list is daunting … and absolutely useless when it comes to seeking peace and contentment. The heart of contentment is wrapped around the promise found in Psalm 23:1, a truth that is staggeringly important to remember in order to experience a contented life.
“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, NIV).
The Lord is my Shepherd, so I will not want. The word “want” means “lack.” In other words, we will lack nothing. Every need in our lives will be met. Our Father, the Good Shepherd, will see to it.
A famous actor was once the guest of honor at a social gathering where he was asked to recite favorite excerpts from various literary works. An old preacher who happened to be there asked the actor to recite the twenty-third Psalm. The actor agreed on the condition that the preacher would also recite it.
The actor’s recitation was beautifully intoned with great dramatic emphasis for which he received lengthy applause. The preacher’s voice was rough and broken from many years of preaching, and his diction was anything but polished. But when he finished, there was not a dry eye in the room.
When someone asked the actor what made the difference, he replied, “I know the Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd.” Boom! There it is! We can know all about Jesus but not really know Him. Knowing Jesus requires a personal relationship with Jesus.
When we know Him, we have everything that we need. An amazing strength and unshakable contentment come from a source that is not our own. It rises out of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Knowing God makes all of His resources available to us – resources like wisdom, guidance, power, peace, love, patience and self-control. In other words, knowing God provides strength for every area of life.
Strength is fertile soil for peace and will bring a harvest of contentment. God did not come to give us human strength. He came to give us His strength.
“The LORD gives His people strength. The LORD blesses His people with peace” (Psalm 29:11, NIV).
“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12: 2, NASB).
When we count on His resources instead of our own, we will experience true contentment. There is no limit to His power, and there is no end to His strength. In fact, our weakness is the perfect showcase for His strength.
According to the American Holistic Health Federation, people who are not satisfied with their lives and seem to have no contentment increase their risk of premature death by at least ten percent. Hudson Taylor once noted, “God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on Him.”
Paul writes in another letter to the church at Corinth, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT).
Today, we can choose to exchange our weak resources for His sufficiency and power by giving up our rights, our plans and our solutions. Right now, let’s choose to lay them all at His feet and choose His plan over ours or any other plan. Then – and only then – will we find contentment.
Father, it seems that a seed of discontent has taken root in my life. I have tried so many things, hoping they would fill that “hole” in my soul. I have looked to so many people to make me happy. I now realize the only source of contentment is You. Right now, I lay down every lifeless resource and submit to You, Your plan and Your perfect provision in my life. Thank You, Lord, for being everything I need.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What resources have you been counting on for contentment?
Have those resources disappointed you? How?
What step(s) do you need to take in order to experience His contentment in your life?
More from the Girlfriends
Stress is a powerful enemy of contentment. We can’t eliminate stress, but we can learn to control stress before it controls us. Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap, transforms the promises of the Twenty-third Psalm into practical steps to employ stress management. Complete with a chapter-by-chapter Bible Study, this book is great for personal or small group study.
Be sure to check out Mary’s new website (http://www.marysoutherland.com) for more valuable resources that will help you grow in Christ. Connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.
Need prayer? Email our Prayer Team Director, Ginger Meador at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our prayer team would love to pray for you!
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