Enough, Already!

Paul writes, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”1 The question is, have we? Have we “learned to be content whatever the circumstances”? I would say, much of the time, no. For we do not stay satisfied long. We continually ask God for things. Of course, we are instructed to “pray without ceasing.”2

God loves to give us gifts and “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”3  Hmm. But if this is true (and it is) then why do we need more from him than the immeasurable amount that he gives us? Perhaps one reason is that we are not really asking much from him. Or imagining much of him. We set our sights too low. Or maybe we feel what we are asking is not important. Or we do not deserve what we are asking for. Or it is too impossible to imagine actually getting what we wish . . . wait a minute. God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” He can do more than we can imagine! This verse really tells us to ask away!! Don’t hold back!! And there’s no worrying about asking the wrong thing. God will not ever give us the wrong thing! So ask away!! We do set our sights too low!

However. We are instructed to pray without ceasing,” not ask without ceasing! Praying is communicating with God—venting and praising and crying out to him and asking questions. Praying is also waiting and being silent with God and listening for his voice. Praying is writing to God and singing to God and reading and reciting scripture and spending time with God. Not just asking for things. Unfortunately, many people only ask God for things because that’s all they really know that he is good for. But isn’t that like talking to our dads only when we want something from him? What kind of a relationship is that?

But I digress. Back to our original question. Will we ever be content? When is enough enough? There is something to be said about being satisfied with things, even if there are things in our life that are not satisfying. I think that’s why Paul referred to his contentment as a secret. He writes, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”4  Being content in all circumstances is not commonly experienced, much less sought after. So what is this secret?

Paul hints at it in his letter to the Philippians but really explains it in Ephesians, right before that great verse about God doing “immeasurably more” than we can imagine. The secret is to “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”5  For if we are filled, there is no room for anything else; thereby, we are content. How do we become that full? When we seek to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”6  That’s how. Knowing the riches of God’s love for us actually completes us and as we grow in that love, we will cease to need much of anything else.

Jeremiah understood this. He writes, “The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”7  In other words—God is all I have. And that is enough.

Will we ever say to God, “Enough, already, Lord. Really, you’ve done enough!!  I don’t know. But I do know this: we need to get to the place where we understand that God is enough. Maybe then we would not need to ask him for so many things.

1Philippians 4:11   21 Thessalonians 5:17   3Ephesians 3:20   4Philippians 4:12   5Ephesians 3:19   6Ephesians 18-19   7Lamentations 3:24

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