Contentment (unabridged)

How content are you with who you are? I read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in The Message recently and was struck by Peterson’s translation of Matthew 5:5: “You’re blessed when you are content with just who you are—no more, no less.”

The first thought that came to mind was another passage of Scripture, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Mt. 22:39). Perhaps the most elementary point of this verse is that if I don’t love myself, and I am not content with who I am, my neighbor isn’t going to be very appreciative of my attempts at “loving” him.

I can give intellectual assent to loving myself, but the proof of my love will be in my contentment with Pres. As I thought about it, I realized I had a nice, neat theological perspective of me.

I am accepted, loved, forgiven, sanctified, justified, seated with Christ in heavenly places, etc., etc. If you are a regular reader of my blog or my books, or if you followed my work at Lifetime Guarantee, you are very familiar with your identity in Christ.

But this passage of Scripture took identity a step farther. It is one thing to be who I am, it is another to be content.

After reading this verse again (and again) and pondering the idea of being content with who I am, I returned to Father with a follow up question concerning my identity in Christ. “Father, I readily agree with you about my identity in Christ, but the characteristics describing me are the same characteristics describing everyone in your family. Papa, who am I? Who is Preston Gillham in your eyes? How can I be content with who I am if I’m uncertain about my identity as an individual?”

It got quiet. I listened to the thoughts that streamed into my mind, and I believed by faith that the thoughts were from Father.

Perhaps what was most astounding—even though right before my eyes all along—was the way Father had woven His identity through characteristics of my personality. I have agreed with Scripture, stating that Christ is my life. But I realized what this verse means to me as I listened to Father describe me to me.

And then the finale from Father: Pres, the jealousy, bitterness, resentment, discontent, and entitlement you fight against is indicative of your failure to be content with who you are. You are attempting to gain contentment rather than being content. 

Stop striving and driving and pushing to prove yourself. Relax in who I have made you to be, no more, no less. It is only then that you will be content.

I guess you pretty well know what I’m trusting Christ for right now.

How about you? Are you content with who you are? Or more fundamentally, have you asked Father to help you understand who YOU are?

Are you ready for a confession? I have never gotten much out of the Sermon on the Mount, until now. I’d like to think I would not have slept through it had I been there, but I’m not so sure.

That makes this revelation from Matthew 5 even more important to me, and I trust the same is true for you. After all, being content with who I am is vitally important since one of the others I’m supposed to love as I love myself is God!