Beside the Well
I have a habit of copying out quotes from devotions as I read. I gain from going back to re-read them and remember what the Lord has taught me. They are also a resource for sharing in my blogs.
At Pastor’s Wives Retreat this year I was given a little devotional book called The Valley Dweller’s Manual by Debra Smith. She has studied many of the valleys mentioned throughout the Bible and written some brilliant devotions that would make great teaching lessons or sermons.
The first quote I copied from her book comes from the devotion called, The Valley of Fruit. I’m going to bold the sentence that caught my attention, and then give you the next few sentences she wrote so you can draw from her thoughts.
“The more I try to make myself happy, the less happy I become.”
“The reason this formula is true lies in the fact that the more I feed my desires, the more I desire. I could never gain enough possessions or gratify enough of my fleshly cravings to satisfy my need. None of us could. (She uses Hollywood as an example.) We need to take our eyes off ourselves with our perceived needs and desires and keep them firmly on the Lord. If He becomes our desire, then we shall be satisfied.”
The Christmas season can reveal extreme examples of our desire to make ourselves happy. Think with me: How many Christmas gifts will it take to make me happy? What would be the actual cost? Does going into debt create happiness? Where am I seeking my happiness? Do I get grumpy or resentful if I don’t get the gifts I think I deserve? If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy? Am I demanding or expecting others to make me happy?
The Bible is right when it says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) The Greek word for gain, according to Strong’s Concordance means, “to cause a thing to get on well, to carry forward, to convey, to acquire” (www.blueletterbible.org). Though the word has the idea of gaining things or funds, I see it as also gaining happiness, peace, and real contentment. The things we gain from allowing contentment to be our guiding principle is not limited to the physical, it has intangible personal and eternal benefits as well.
The opposite of contentment is greed. Greed is never satisfied. Oh, we might not see ourselves as greedy for things, but we might be greedy for recognition, appreciation, or for someone to make us happy or to please us. Truth is, if we are not happy in and of ourselves, very little around us will make us happy, and the harder we try to create our own happiness, the less happy we become.
This Christmas, why not set your heart, before even a gift is given, that you will make yourself content in the Lord. Be thankful for what you already have. Be appreciative of those around you and ready to create happiness for others above yourself. Then, you will have a Happy Christmas!