The Fruit of Righteousness – Contentment (Repost from 4/30/12)

SisApp was yesterday, and all last week and this weekend we’ve been working hard getting ready to appreciate our sisters. It was quite fun, and I had a great time working on our projects with the guys and finally getting to see the fruit of our labor on Sunday as we put on SisApp for the girls. And as much as I love serving, and loved serving, and as much of a joy as it was to do all that I had the opportunity to do, I know myself, I know my own natural tendencies and weaknesses. Jefe has been having me read The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, a book that is really just a sermon series by Jeremiah Burroughs, from 1651 (WOW; just another example of the timelessness of Scripture). This past week, knowing I was busy, he told me to read through Philippians, starting with reading the letter in its entirety, and then each day going through a chapter. Well, today was my first day reading Philippians in-depth, and I had been planning on reading the whole first chapter. Before I read, I prayed that God would convict me through what I read. That He would remind me that contentment, true contentment, is only found, only available, even, in Him. I prayed that He would break my pride, that I would not try to find contentment in the approval of others, the inclusion by others, in being the center of attention. As I said, I know my own weaknesses, and my easily inflated ego is one of them. I prayed, God, I don’t even know how such a change can even be possible, to change something so very deeply rooted in me. But then I remembered: this is the Gospel, its glorious second part. He changes us, daily, to match more closely the image of Christ. And then I prayed that He would change me not that I would be seen as more godly by others, and thereby nullify any work done in the first place, but that He would be more glorified in me. So, I began reading, and while intending to read the whole first chapter, I got no farther than the eleventh verse:

“having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

Oh my word, how timely of God to give me this passage today.
This fruit that I’m asking for, that God will teach me true contentment (the benefits of which will run over into every area of my walk), “comes through Jesus Christ”. I don’t have to question how such a change can be effected in me; Christ lives in me, and so all I have to do is put on Him (Ro 13:14).
This fruit will arise “to the glory and praise of God.” If I am truly seeking God’s transforming work in me, He will be glorified, despite my shortcomings or even my sinful efforts to the contrary.

In the next few days, as I continue through Philippians, I pray that God will show me through Paul’s divinely inspired letter what it means to find all contentment in Him, and how to go about gaining that which I am desiring.

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