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Fullness by Deon Crafford

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Is the true purpose of life the successful pursuit of complete happiness? It certainly seems to be that way if one’s observations is anything to go by. Once every two weeks or so my daily delivered (yes still printed) newspaper contains a glossy supplement called Wanted. It is a very apt name as it contains articles about the latest, greatest, most desired things from fashion to jewelry to art and more. Wanted, suggesting that the recipient reader would be stirred by the presentation into the need to acquire whatever, and satisfying another notch on the upward journey to happiness. I usually cast this glossy aside without even studying the front page, not so much because of my innate resistance to feed the fickle want, but more simple than that, because I don’t have the means to even think of acquiring any of that. This is however the narrative that dominates our world today, that happiness is found in the satisfaction of needs, which is at least a squared value to that which I currently have. 

I earlier referred to this as an upward journey to happiness and yet when witnessing the obsession with acquiring things, there is always a lingering sense of stubborn unhappiness. So in a sense it is a downward journey in two ways; the lingering sense of “incomplete” or “unfulfilled” keeps pursuing one, often increasing, and this pursuit tends to drive us further into self and away from reliance on God. Perhaps this sounds like the ramblings of someone that doesn’t have much to show, and therefor without legitimacy. Let me then shift to Paul, who clearly has known high abundance and severe deprivation, but uncovers the secret that happiness is indeed achievable when my relationship with God is right. From this position I accept that God will provide for my needs – perhaps not the fickle or Wanted ones, but those that will enable me to live a meaningful, purposeful and increasingly holy life. This is easy to pen, but desperately hard to live, as most will attest. That though should not prevent us from pursuing with zeal the reliance on and contentment with God’s provision. 

Contentment is not a superspiritual call into self-induced poverty or deprivation. Neither is it a counter-motivation to honest hard work, with the commensurate reward. Contentment is a vaccination against obsession with the fickle, the perishable and the perpetual shortfall. Contentment in Christ means that my cup constantly overflows and that nothing comes remotely close to the joy of knowing my future is securely and permanently authored into His book of Life.

Love to all