Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

God’s Glorious Attributes


Part 18

By Rayola Kelley

      As many of us close out an old year and look forward to a new year, we do so with high hopes that this new year will be the year for something to be accomplished, some victory to claim, or some new lease on life. However, we must ask if a new year really allots us a new beginning?

      Let me ask you a simple question, “How many of you have thought, if I accomplish this, overcome this challenge, or etc., I will then be happy and content,” but somehow as the new passed you by, this hope or pursuit has and continues to somehow elude you? How many of you leave an old year behind in hopes of completing that one accomplishment that, in your mind, will fulfill your life, only to be left in a total disillusionment and teetering on the abyss of depression due to the fact nothing really changes, regardless of what you have attempted or actually accomplished?

      I have long ago left such expectation behind. Don’t get me wrong, I am not some morbid skeptic about finding contentment in the times I live in, but I have found that my accomplishments lead to other challenges and that victories are very temporary in this world and will become tarnished in a short time, leaving me with the reality that anything attached to it will eventually lose all glitter and will become dulled by time. It is the fact that all things attached to this world requires hard work, ongoing toils, and sacrifice, while the benefits of such prove to be so temporary that it leaves one absolutely depressed with life.

      Each new year reminds us we have another year to maybe discover what we are looking for; that is, unless life is winding down for you, and from that perspective what lies ahead of those individuals who have passed the mid mark of life and the reality is that they are heading down the other side. And, what is on the other side is the ultimate signal to the end of the cycle of life on earth as we know it—that of physical death.

      I, for one, am on the other side of the peak when it comes to my age, and I know that for me much could prove to be downhill physically and emotionally as I face each challenge that looms before me. After all, I do not have the strength or energy to do what I used to do. The depressing state of this is that the strength of my youth is not present to enable me to get up in my failures as before, push through the obstacles as I once did, and wrestle in matches for truth, souls, and sanity as I once was able to do.

      It is for this reason that what I value about today is my hindsight, what I trust today is wisdom from above and what I am looking forward to is not another year, but eternity. I long ago learned how to find contentment in what I have, while learning what real satisfaction is, and to live in light of eternity in order to not be plagued by regrets. In this I have learned the secret of contentment that is not fickle, disillusioned, or swinging in the type of insane reality that eventually ends in someone crashing and burning when reality hits the scene like a tornado.    

      The truth is, most of life is made up with drudgery that is highlighted by certain events, events that can prove to be good, tragic, or overwhelming, but have clearly impacted our emotions so much that it becomes an embedded memory that can cause us to relive it over and over again as if it was happening in the present. It is for this reason Paul made it clear that we need to learn contentment no matter what state we are in (Philippians 4:11).

      There you go again—that word, “learning” walks hand and hand with “contentment.” What is contentment? The Strong’s Concordance associates such meanings as “self-satisfaction,” “competence,” and “sufficiency.” In my secular dictionary a couple of other definitions are to “wait quietly,” and to “limit oneself in requirement, desires, or actions.” If we cannot accept the state we are presently in and we begin to desire more, then the state of leanness takes on an attitude that ends in contention.

      Think about it. Beyond being content, is nothing but contention. Contention is the foulest of moods because it comes from pride. The reason for this is because being content is a learned attitude that is able to appreciate what it does have and accept that it is all that is needed to experience the fullness of life. It looks at the half-full cup as a blessing and strives to find the silver lining in every challenge. It sees life as an adventure not a burden, a wonderful teacher not an unbearable taskmaster that has nothing to offer, and a glorious gift from God and not a curse.

      This brings me to what I have learned about contentment, and that is a person will never find it in this world. The world lacks substance to bring stability to the soul and it is incapable of leaving a person satisfied for long. Consider for a moment the world right now. How many people in power are content with what they have? How many of our young people are so dissatisfied they are angry and ready to revolt against all present establishment? How many individuals who have an ungodly agenda and narrative, give the impression that if the rest of the world would only agree with them, they would be happy; but in reality they will discover that discontentment is not present in their lives because people disagree with them; rather, it is because their agenda is contentious towards a holy God? How much of the world is in utter chaos, and how many wish they could seek out another place besides the one they are living in?

      Each new year brings another movement or group that promotes their own form of darkness. Each group seem more insane and violent than the last. For instance, those in what we call the “me generation” lean towards Socialism because they know nothing but utter selfishness and do not wish to know anything but some reality that does nothing more than cater to their inept emotional state and out-of-control lusts. Don’t get me wrong, I realize there are many out there from the “me generation” that have not bought into the foolish attitudes and demonically inspired philosophies that are driving many of their generation into complete insanity, resulting in them whimpering in some corner because they can’t handle life or blindly raging against it because they can’t accept what is.

      If we are content to wait on the Lord in this present age, knowing He will bring forth His promises, we can be content in the midst of insanity that appears to be growing each year. If we can accept our limitations, then we can discern what our burden really is in light of what is going on and align our attitudes, direct our focus, and discipline our desires to come into line with God’s will.

      One of the greatest points of discontentment comes down to accepting our limitations. We often try to do God’s work or force Him to do it on our terms because we can’t see where we are wrong. When we exalt our standards or conclusions as being right in a matter, we fail to come to terms with the fact that God is always right and that His ways are righteous regardless of how our standards say differently. We must choose faith over our high opinion of what we think we know in order to come to a place of rest where we can be content that in the end, God’s way will not only prove right but it will reveal wisdom, clarity, and perfection (Romans 12:3).

      Even though in America, we live in a society of abundance, we have become spiritually poor, emotionally miserable and inept to cope with life, and morally bankrupt. This is one of the reasons we often refuse to accept our limitations. As an American, we have been taught if we have enough resources and a “stick-to-it initiative,” surely, we can bring about a certain result, and if we feel there is a deep moral, just conviction attached to it, we assume God will naturally agree with us and go along with our attempts. However, our Almighty God will not bow down to our assumptions to simply prove to us that He is righteous. The truth is, all that He does is righteous and it is up to each of us to know if there is a departure of God from our way of doing; therefore, we must still declare what is true, “let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:2).

      As a nation we are in trouble because each year and each generation seems to be veering from the truth and from what is righteous. For many in America, they have become self-sufficient, failing to see we did not earn such blessings. After all, blessings are not earned, they are a gift from an all-sufficient God to benefit us in our lives (2 Corinthians 3:5). This terrible detour has opened the door for such abhorrent ideologies and practices to come in, such as those that are now trying to redefine family to fit a wicked narrative, while many homes fall apart, our children are being offered up on the various altars of Molech (abortion, child trafficking, pornography, etc.); our society is becoming lawless, and our government at different levels is proving to be deeply corrupt as officials sell the American people out to enlarge their pockets or their power.

      As we look at the darkness of what is taking center stage each new year, we must ever look up to keep our eye on the all-consuming light that will eventually penetrate the great darkness with judgment. It is vital we learn contentment in this darkness so we can stand in confidence on what is true and continue to stand in what has been promised.

      As I wrestle with what I see happening around me, as well as the not-so-pleasant possibilities a new year may bring with it, I constantly remind myself that God is all in all. I realize I have previously talked about Jesus being our all in all. There is such a consolation in believing this, but I must bring it up once again when I talk about learning contentment. We can only know true contentment when Jesus becomes our all in all. If we have, or end up in this life with nothing but Jesus, He is all-sufficient and He alone can bring the inward satisfaction we desire in this world.

      Jesus is competent in all He does for us and on our behalf. If you don’t believe it look at the empty cross, it declares, “It is finished.” Consider the empty grave and its claims, “Death has lost and will not have victory over us.” Remember what was said to the disciples when Jesus was taken up in a cloud in Acts 1:9-11, as two men stood by them and one proclaimed, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.” 

      As I look at all the different groups that claim they will rule the world in the end, and it seems like every year they make some inroad to bring it about, I choose to remember my God is completely sovereign. Nothing can happen without His approval or say so, and that whatever is allowed to happen in my life, as well as nationally and internationally, is according to God’s all-encompassing purpose to bring about what is prophetic and what has been promised. And, what has been promised: that Jesus will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords and it is true that, “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

      In my own life, I know that God in His all-knowing ways knows exactly what needs to occur in my life to be brought to perfection, and since He is all powerful He is working something out, not only in my life but on a national and international level to bring about the ultimate events that will usher in His second coming. I stand on this blessed hope because I know without a doubt it is going to happen and when it does, I will be on the right side of eternity because of embracing in my heart what Jesus did for me on the cross.

      It is true that my spirit is vexed over what I see because I recognize what it will mean for those who do not know Jesus. He is all love, but He is all and completely holy and righteous. In His complete love, He offered a complete package to ensure redemption, and because of His holiness He provided a way in which man could stand justified to avoid His consuming fire, and in His righteousness, He has provided a way or reconciliation.  

      I do not wish to see the unbelieving, the wicked and those who are evil judged as they taste His wrath. I do not want them to be brought to complete and utter spiritual ruin because it could have been avoided if they had believed the Gospel and received Jesus Christ. The truth is, God so loved He gave His only begotten Son so man could be spared from His wrath to come. Jesus so loved that He allowed His heart and body to be broken on the cross, as well as His blood shed so man could be forgiven and brought to a place of reconciliation. 

      I look forward to what has been promised because of hope and I stand because I know each promise is so, but I do so with a heavy heart, a sobriety, an urgency because even though this new year means Jesus’ coming is closer, it also highlights that the time is short and men are perishing and will perish without Christ.

      Each new year speaks of God’s longsuffering, His ability to slow down His anger and wrath to give man an opportunity to repent (2 Peter 3:9). We are in a great spiritual wilderness, and the darkness is great but like John the Baptist we possess that one message that warns people to flee the wrath to come, but we need to be a sure, firm voice that proclaims it.

      I want to challenge each believer this year to not think in terms of what the new year will bring you personally, but think of it as a gift of time for you to seek God’s face as to what you should do with the opportunity of a new day as you embark on a new year. Perhaps the Lord will show you who and what to pray for. Maybe, He will reveal an evangelistic tool you can use to put forth the Gospel or reveal someone you are to minister to in practical ways in order to help advance His kingdom in some way. Keep in mind, a small deed done in obedience to Christ is as important as a large one. Never count something insignificant or not necessary because oftentimes the “small” things become the special offerings to God that have been anointed by the sweet savor of Jesus’ life (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).     

      I want to wish each of you a blessed year. I pray that you will continue to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as you receive His many spiritual blessings with joy, while becoming enriched with unfeigned faith, knowing that He is all you need and you are persuaded that, He is able to keep that which has been committed to Him against that future day of judgment (2 Timothy 1:12).

      In conclusion, I want to share a post from Facebook that summarized my sentiment, “My hope is not in this coming year but in the One who is coming back.”