Cruising through the Ups and Downs of Life
by Sam Ang
We live in a society of insatiable desires, prodded by the hidden persuaders of our society that we need to acquire, consume, upgrade and enlarge in order to have a good life.
In such a context, the concept of "enough" is a strange one. Then comes recession and a fierce struggle arises between our insatiable desires and not having the means to fulfill them.
Recession provokes strange, scary feelings, especially to those who have never known what it is like to have their desires unmet. It also creates "large-scale insecurity and uncertainty", as reported in Newsweek July 19, 2010.
People feel more exposed and they tend to plan for the worst rather than hope for the best. Their reluctance to make major purchase commitments (a new car or home) validates their pessimism by retarding recovery.
Where do we as Christians stand on this issue? How do we cope with the ups and down of life?
As Christians, one of the greatest virtues that we have been taught is Christian contentment. True contentment endures in spite of our circumstances; it does not rise and fall with every turn of providence.
True, lasting contentment comes only from knowing and trusting the Lord, a sure confidence in God's providence and provision.
In his letter to his spiritual son Timothy, Apostle Paul advised in 1 Tim. 6:6: "But godliness with contentment is great gain." The key word here is "godliness."
Here are three suggested thoughts on how godliness should take shape in our lives.
- Practise discipline in the things of God.
- Remember that sin has been defeated.
- Believe in the sovereignty of God.
What are the practical steps we should take towards "godliness"?
- Develop a lifestyle of limits, not luxury
- Cultivate generosity, not greed
- Emphasise personal worth rather than net worth
- Invest in the eternal, not just the temporal
We are to anticipate that we will be ushering difficult times ahead. The economic outlook of the nation does not look rosy.
The disparity between the rich and poor has widened considerably. As reported recently, a theoretical household of 4.4 people would need RM858 a month per person in order for them not to be declared poor.
The ups and downs of life will remain the big challenge we all have to face.
Are we taking steps to tighten our belt and are we learning the art of contentment?