Now that we have entered a new year, many experience emotional and spiritual lows. Historically, suicide rates rise after the holiday seasonal rush. People have survived the hype and build up of Christmas and often feel a major letdown coming into a new year. As believers, we are susceptible to this discontentment that is prevalent around us. That being said, true contentment can only come through experiencing all that our Good Shepherd has provided for us, not what this temporary life offers. Consider these truths from the familiar Psalm 23.
The first step to contentment is to make the Lord your Shepherd. Many apply this psalm to themselves for comfort during troubling times, but fail to see David’s opening words, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” This is not a blanket statement or truth, but rather only those who have a real, personal relationship with God experience this sweet contentment.
The second step to contentment is to know and enjoy the Shepherd’s provisions.. I have come to understand that sheep will not “lie down in green pastures,” until that have eaten enough and are satisfied. God’s Word is a feast of spiritual sustenance. Often like sheep, believers will look for refreshment themselves when God offers to lead us “beside the still waters.” God’s Word can “restore” and lead us back to a right relationship with the Shepherd when we fall astray. Finally, the Scripture can “lead in paths of righteousness” and guide us day by day. Today, are you enjoying the wonderful provisions the Good Shepherd offers?
The third step to contentment is to walk with the Good Shepherd through hard times. God does not give contentment by keeping us from trials, but rather by providing His presence in the midst of trials. The Psalmist refers specifically to times of fear, conflict, and irritation, but through it all “thou art with me.” Those who walk in the presence of the Shepherd experience contentment even through the trials and difficulties.
The final step to contentment is to see God’s goodness in every situation. Goodness and mercy are much like sheepdogs, that follow the sheep wherever they may go. Both now and eternally, we can be content in the Good Shepherd’s goodness and mercy.
Are you experiencing true contentment today or are you relying on someone or something else for satisfaction? Only through experiencing the Good Shepherd fully, can we know peaceful contentment.
- Pastor David