I always thought of contentment as a personality trait, people whose natural disposition is to be happy with just being present versus those at the other extreme who are “high maintenance”. Contentment for Paul was a secret learned, not a gift found in a blinding flash on the road to Damascus, but a revelation in a new life born of spirit and truth. Through Christ Paul saw the true kingdom of God. He started living his eternal spiritual life in the present, the here and now. He lived not just as a citizen of heaven, but as a member of the royal family in the Kingdom of God. Following Christ Paul learned a new way of seeing the world. Once a model Pharisee and zealot defender of the law, Paul counted all these past accomplishments as nothing. He found true love and deeply understood God’s love for us. Paul’s treasures were the fruits of the spirit, the spiritual gifts permanently stored in heaven never to be damaged by moth or rust. Paul never looked at what he lacked, but at what God provides, the Holy Spirit and the strength of Christ. He knew he was no longer that person who persecuted Christians and also recognized he had not yet become the true likeness of Christ, but instead lived in the gap of who he is at present and who God intended him to become. He also took great comfort and found content in the knowledge that Christ fills this gap. Paul learned that he had Jesus and needed nothing more.
I’ve always seen life as a Kaleidoscope: turn it 45 degrees to look from a different angle and you’ll see a different picture. Your perspective is your reality (from 1st rule of marriage – your spouse’s perspective is their reality – start with that view first to understand your current predicament). That new perspective will make a new reality.
We all had a totally different picture of 2020 when the year began than we have now after social distancing since early March. From this disruption we can look at all the things lost. We can also seek insight into how we have been living and we find revelation and opportunities in Christ that were previously overlooked. How we feel about this experience and our current situation depends on how we perceive the consequences of our experience. This is not an exercise in dishonesty to ignore a stark reality or try to blur the image by looking through whisky glasses. This is our opportunity to live now as eternal children of God, spiritual siblings with Christ. We are all called to live the new beginning, the Kingdom of God that Christ has shown. A new way that sees our imperfect world through faith in Christ. A faith that moves us to action not because we’ve got this, but because we have Christ who can do all things. Max Lucado’s "Anxious for Nothing" says it this way: “They can’t take away our joy because they can’t take away our Jesus. What you have in Christ is far greater than anything you don’t have in life.”