Our training is no grim duty. It is a delightful privilege. We are engaged in a joyous adventure, not a dull, boring task. God is no killer of happiness. IN this training experience we are coming alive to God. Every person, every tree, every flower, every color is alive with God for those who know his way of life.
And most wonderful of all is what happens inside us. To our astonishment we find that we are walking with God. His thoughts are becoming our thoughts, his desires our desires. Increasingly old ugly thoughts melt away and our minds become pure as a mountain stream. Proof upon proof begins to pile up that God is at work in our daily lives, until we become certain of God, not from books or preachers, but from experience. The old strain and indecision are replaced by a greater ease and confidence.
We begin to live in guidance. Inward promptings give direction to our decisions. Thomas Kelly witnessed, “Life from the Center is a life of unhurried peace and power. It is simple. It is serene. It is amazing. It is triumphant. It is radiant. It takes no time, but it occupies all our time. And it makes our life programs new and overcoming.”
One of the most profound effects of inward peace is the rise of an amazing spirit of contentment. Gone is the need to strain and pull to get ahead. In rushes a glorious indifference to position, status, or possession. Living out of this wonderful childhood way of life causes all other concerns to fade into insignificance. So utterly immersed was St. Paul in this reality that from a Roman prison he could write “I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11). to be put down or to be praised was a matter of indifference to him. Plenty and hunger, abundance and want were immaterial to this little Jew with the God centered soul. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he said, and so he lived (Phil. 4:13).
How cleverly Paul turned the tables on all those who taught that “godliness with contentment” (1 Tim. 6: 5, 6). he saw that the problem with material gain is its inability to bring contentment. John D. Rockfeller was once asked how much money it would take to be really satisfied. He answered, “Just a little bit more!” And that is precisely our problem – it always takes a little more; contentment always remains elusive.
Do you understand what a freedom this is? To live in contentment means we can opt out of the status race and the maddening pace that is its necessary partner. We can shout “No!” to the insanity which chants, “More, more, more!” We can rest contented in the gracious provision of God.