There are Christians who are dissatisfied! Dissatisfied with the places where they live, the jobs they have, the money they make, and the houses they live in and the people in their lives. Something else always looks better to them, the grass is greener on the other side.
In each of us there is a spirit of discontent that causes us to fuss, nag, bicker, quarrel, and complain. In my house, as I am sure it is in every other house, it is a great hindrance to happy relationships and happy living if someone in the house is not content.
God’s desire for us is to be content with what we have. “But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment” (1 Tim 6:6 MSG). As opposed to godliness without contentment – which means that being all “Christian” and not being content is of no value whatsoever, your faith is empty. Ouch!
Paul could say, “For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,…I can do everything through him who give me strength.” (Phil 4:11-13).
Paul says “I have learned” which means he was not always content, but that it was a skill he developed over time. What an encouragement to all of us that we can indeed learn to be content in any and every situation. Paul actually tells us the secret to being content: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Paul is saying that the Lord is the one who helps him to be content, who strengthens him through the Spirit to be content.
When we can recognize the presence of discontentment in our lives and acknowledge it as sin, we can seek God’s grace to overcome it and find new joy in living. The Spirit enables this in our lives.
Could it be that the loneliness in our lives or the conflicts in our relationships are the result of an underlying spirit of discontentment? It will not change as long as we think satisfaction can be found in any material possession or improved circumstances. It can only be found in a relationship with the Lord. I have always loved Heb 13:5 because of the Lord’s promise ‘never to leave or forsake me’, but then He showed me an instruction to a way of life, hidden in this promise:
Keep your lives free from the love of money
and be content with what you have, because God has said,
‘Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you
Real satisfaction can only be found in the Lord. The temptation is to seek money as the answer to all our problems, but God wants us to be content with Him for He is the one who satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry soul with good things (Psalm 107:9). He has instructed us to be content with what we have, for while the circumstances of life change daily, He is unchanging and ever with us, never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5).
As our knowledge of Him increases through the study of His Word and through prayerful periods in His presence, we shall find a settled peace and contentment growing within us. We are able to settle into what the Serenity Prayer asks for:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen. –Reinhold Niebuhr
This focus on Him for our satisfaction, will enable us to receive with gratitude what He gives us, and at the same time thank Him for what He denies us, being confident that His ways are perfect.
Contentment can be learned, God will provide the strength to be content.
Father help me to be content with Your current provision in my life. Help me to understand and know that Your presence in my life is all I will ever need. Your are a good Father and know what I need, help me to rest in your love for me and the knowledge that You will never leave me. Amen.
The Snake that Will Kill You