A friend of mine and I were recently discussing the topic of contentment prior to the beginning of our Sunday morning church service. Having not seen each other in awhile, we both inquired how life was treating the other. Naturally, life has it’s ups and downs, it’s highs and lows, it’s celebrations and it’s difficulties. Our discussion made me realize how critical the attitude of contentment is to our walk as believers. The Bible has much to say about contentment, both directly and indirectly. Discontentment lies at the heart of many troubles. Satan’s pride brought about a spirit of discontentment resulting in him being booted right out of heaven’s gate. In Genesis 4, we read how Cain’s face fell when the Lord God held Abel’s offering with regard but did not do likewise regarding Cain’s offering.
Discontentment leads to a road of ills. It breeds resentment, ignites anger, and stirs up grumbling. When we are discontent we are not happy with what we have.
The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has siad, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
In Philippians, the Apostle Paul reassurres the Christians there that he has learned to be content in any situation he finds himself in. That’s a pretty bold statement considering the predicaments that Paul endured.
When we aren’t content, we tend to worry or become anxious about the future. We miss out on enjoying God’s blessings in the present. Our mind falls prey to pride and our heart is overcome by an attitude of “woe is me”.
Sure, it’s hard to be content. Trust me. I know this from my own experience. I think in part, when we aren’t believers, the Holy Spirit uses our discontent to draw us closer to God. I’ve been unhappy when I was poor as dirt and I’ve been unhappy when I’ve had more money than I could say grace over. Apart from God, I’m discontent. As a believer, one of the things I learn is to be content in all circumstances. Present circumstances, after all, are merely temporary. Here today, gone tomorrow.
Covetousness is one of the many things the Ten Commandments warns us against. Covetousness occurs, I believe, when we’re not happy with what we find on our plate which, in turn, causes us to look at what’s on everybody else’s plate. In other words, we covet because we are not content. Think about all the ways one man can sin against another. Doesn’t discontentment lie at the root of them?
When we learn to be content in all situations, we are filled with peace and joy can abound in us freely. Again, I don’t know how these things are possible apart from God. Yes, I can have peace and joy on my own. However, it is limited and short-lived. If I am firmly planted in Him Who Can Do All Things, then the spirit of contentment can grow in me. Left to my own devices, I fall miserably short, failing to enjoy the present abundantly, because I’m caught up in the unchangeable past or greeting the unknowable future with disdain and resentment.
The Bible tells us not to worry, but to trust in the Lord. It tells us not to fret or be timid, but to be bold. Without a spirit of contentment, I don’t see how we appreciate the wonderful things God provides for us because we’re too busy being filled with an attitude of lacking.
Your life may not be perfect. It may not be everything you dreamt it might be or expected it to be. This can be said of anyone of us at one time or another. When we abide in Him, we can truly be content. Contentment acknowledges that God is control. When we are content we are free to worship without reservation regardless of our present situation. How glorious would that be?