About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Frustration Is A Killer    


We all face frustration.  It cannot be avoided, but when frustration lingers, it's a killer.  It kills any sense of inner peace that we may have been experiencing, and that leads to other negative issues.  So, in the midst of unsettling frustration, we search for peace and contentment.  With this in mind, read Philippians 4:11 and 12.


"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." 


There is no disagreement that Paul had a pretty rough life as a Christian that would have frustrated him immensely.  Despite all that life brought him, he had learned, at least to a big degree, to be content.  Imagine, for example, being locked up in prison for two years (Acts 24:27) when your heart's desire and calling from the Lord was to travel the empire preaching Jesus.  You would think that contentment would have been difficult to find under those conditions.      


Our English verb "I have learned" in the phrase "I have learned to be content" is a passive voice verb in the Greek text.  This means that an outside influence enabled Paul to be content.  This contentment was not something that Paul found through any human effort on his part.  Obviously, that outside source was Jesus.   


Paul must have had the desire to be content in the midst of life's frustrations.  Beyond desire would have been his willingness to surrender to God's will, whatever His will was, and that, in the midst of that which caused his frustration.  Like Peter, he probably viewed the source of frustration as a test of his trust in Jesus, as recorded in 1 Peter 1:7. 


Submission to God's will in the midst of frustrating circumstances that we have no control over is a struggle.  Giving up and giving in to Jesus that leads to contentment does not come natural to us, but it is an attainable possibility.  Paul would have also agreed with Peter who wrote that all that we need to live a godly life, which would include contentment, lies within us via God's Spirit (2 Peter 1:3).  This is where the fight is fought.  It's that battle between our human nature and the divine nature within us (Galatians 5:17), but it is a winnable war.   


Winning the war presupposes that we have developed a working relationship with Jesus that would make this surrender possible.  If your claim to be Christian is merely head knowledge, finding genuine contentment in Jesus is impossible. 


Frustration is common to us all.   Lingering frustration is a killer.  If we are ever to find contentment, it takes submission to God's will in the midst of the battle.

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