Mar 16

Session 8 Recap: Phillips, “Contentment With Identity”

2014 | by Peter Arndt | Category: Clarus 14,Gospel

Editor’s Note: Peter Arndt is a Community Group Leader at Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque, NM. This post is a summary of Rick Phillips’ message from Sunday morning at Clarus, March 16, “Contentment With Identity,” from Psalm 16. 


In teaching from Psalm 16, Pastor Rick Phillips showed that contentment is a learned attitude. The happiness the world seeks is contingent upon circumstances. Blessedness, on the other hand, is a joy which is not dependent upon the world or circumstances but is rather a gift from God. If satisfaction only comes when times are good, then there is no reason to become a Christian. There is no power in contentment found only in good times. Psalm 16 presents an alternative supernatural power of contentment in all things.

Contentedness In Our Identity

There is a pathway to being content with who we are in Christ that starts with faith that leads to contentment which produces joy. David demonstrated his journey down this path (Psalm 16: 1) as he was being chased and threatened by those who were seeking his life. David responds in prayer by fixing his eyes on God, taking refuge in his protection instead of lamenting the strength of his enemies.  Faith in God prompts him to prayer. We too should pray when afraid and distressed. What a difference for us when we lift our gaze to God, and we meditate on our identity as a child of the King.

As David applies the faith God gives him, his circumstances are unchanged, and yet he is changed. He cheerfully accepts God’s sovereignty in his present trials knowing God’s purposes are good and holy. If we cannot worship God through suffering, there is a mercenary quality to our worship – we want the gifts but not the Giver.

A Principle of the Indirectness of the Christian Life

All humans are seeking joy. Christians find it on an indirect route. If you are seeking to be happy, you never will be. But if you are first seeking God and his praise, you will receive joy as the by-product. God gives us this present joy to anticipate the final joy that we await at the resurrection. Ps. 16:9-10 shows that David’s hope of the resurrection is the guarantee of his joy, and therefore present circumstances are not a barrier of contentment in God.

Jesus’ Example

Our Lord also prayed when he contemplated the cross. As he prayed and submitted he knew God would protect and deliver him through the agony of the cross  and the judgment of our sins (Heb 12:2). The result was a joy and fellowship he will share with the Father through all eternity. We too should know that joy in the fellowship of sufferings we will encounter in this life. Let us not fail to follow the path to contentment and joy or we will miss the fulfillment of our purpose to enjoy and glorify God.

Did Jesus go the cross for my sins, and do I know forgiveness because of the cross? If yes, then I know the love and goodness of God and can trust him in all things. If no, however, then there is no real joy apart from my circumstances. Might we know this true and eternal joy found in the atoning work of Christ!