A Concentrated Thought: Hebrews 13:5-6

Am currently emerging out of one of the worst bouts of depression that I can remember. Transitions do that to me, but man. This one was wild! Thankful for brighter moments, day by day. 

It’s really hard for me to study/read the Bible when I’m depressed. But I still want to meditate on the truth. I recently found that the most enjoyable way to go about it (when depressed, but also when I’m feeling better!) is to simply choose a verse to meditate on the entire day. 

While on a walk a few days ago, I decided to focus on a couple of verses I already had memorized:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

Hebrews 13:5-6

Let your conduct be without covetousness…This verse isn’t talking about thoughts or inclination, but conduct. There is a way in which my conduct can be with covetousness (excessive desire for possessions, often seen by what someone else has) or without it. 

…be content with such things as you have.

Do I remember what I have? 

The physical strength to go on walks.

A gentle, strong, and affirming husband who holds my hand as he falls asleep.

A career trajectory that challenges me and I deeply enjoy.

Friends that check in on me even when I’ve ignored all messages for weeks.

Clean, cool water to drink at a simple button press.

The list is endless. 

Am I content with these things? Do my goals and aspirations detract from the joy of what I’ve already received?

Do I remember that all these things, listed and enjoyed, are gifts? Undeserved, bountiful measures of grace upon grace?

Wait a second.

…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Gratitude stems from seeing my gifts, but that is not the cornerstone of contentment. 

My contentment is safest when grounded in the statement following the For: Jesus’ inescapable presence.

Contentment based on things (even wonderful things!) is not safe. Contentment comes not from what I have but Whose I am. Because that can never be lost. 

Fire can separate me from all objects, death can separate me from all earthly relationships, illness can separate me from all abilities. 

Ah, but there is one safe thing that neither fire nor death nor illness (nor any other created thing!) can separate me from. 

The abiding love, presence, and Person of Jesus. 

I can enjoy the gifts of all the other things within the safety of the one Thing I can never lose. 

Contentment stems from what is un-lose-able and encompasses all the other things that can be enjoyed. 

…So we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Ah, but isn’t that a bold statement?

I am confident that the Lord, the God of all the universe, the architect of mountains and designer of lilies, He is my helper. 

Fear has no place in my heart. 

Because honestly, what can man do to me?