Con·tent (n) – a state of satisfaction
Con·quer (v) – overcome and take control of (a place or people) by use of military force; successfully overcome (a problem or weakness)
These two words are rarely used in a sentence together. Why? Generally because to conquer one must become discontented with life as it is or has been. Sadly, we often get so “satisfied” where God has placed that our fight becomes more unnecessary because “we got this”. Mixing up when to use “Godliness with contentment” and “Shout for God hath given you the city” is sometimes easy to do, especially when you’ve just entered the Promised Land. The children of Israel had some of the same issues, though a bit more serious and if we’re not careful, we can end up mirroring their demise.
Our first story begins in Judges 1, Joshua had died and the Israelite’s suddenly wondered, “Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?” (Judges 1:1) The Lord simply wanted Praise, Judah, to go up. Judah went forth killing and conquering all through chapter 1… but the story doesn’t end in victory after victory.
Imagine with me, you are an Israelite, you have been told of this “land flowing with milk and honey” all your life, you’ve heard about the Canaanites, but they’re our enemies so we don’t really need to be afraid. So it is that when you enter the land of your inheritance, you are happy – finally home! The Amorite’s are alright, they’re not that bad, they even ask you over for dinner and give your kids Christmas presents. You forget God’s commandment to kill them. I mean come on, what could God have against the expensive camels and linens they give you year after year; are these not His blessings? You see your children bring home other god’s and foreign sayings and begin to adopt them into your own life. Assimilated. Then, unexpectedly, they are discontented living with your family next door. You and all your kinsfolk are forced to the mountain, resigned to the fact that you are unwelcome. This is a story of being “Content without Conquering”.
Now, years go by and we are given yet another glimpse of “Content without Conquering” and a staggering prophetic outcome – staggering in the sense that the ramifications become a ripple effect for future generations. The Corinthians once felt as though they had “arrived” in contentment and mercy, yet the great Apostle Paul had a different idea of their coexistence with sin. Come with me as we travel to Corinth and the early church. As a youth, you admired the mercy of God, but as an adult, you strive to honour it. So it is when you discover that one of your close friend’s is living in fornication – with his father’s wife no less. You are content though, no need to cause dissension or raise heat over such an issue. You have grown comfortable knowing that your youth do not spend time at the fornicator’s house. The Apostle Paul, being the founder of your church, writes one day saying, “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (I Cor. 5:6) This act of one or two people will become an epidemic within the body. This is the ripple effect of being “Content without Conquering”.
Now my friends, I encourage you to be content, but not to the point of being accustomed to living with the enemy and sin, while not trying to reach out. Conquer you; your flesh – daily. For it should be as Paul said, “…I die daily.” (I Cor. 15:31)
I hope this helped you. God bless!
Cassandra J. Savala