ARE WE CONTENTEDLY DISCONTENT?


 

The Bible clearly teaches us to “be content” no matter what our circumstances are. In Philippians 4:11, Paul said, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am in therewith to be content.” The Amplified Bible describes being content as “satisfied to the point where you are not disturbed or disquieted”. It doesn’t say satisfied to the point where you don’t want change, but satisfied for now until God brings the change. Philippians 4:6-7 sheds more light in this area by saying, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, continue to let God know what you want”, and verse 7 “the peace that passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. Allow me to paraphrase these scriptures in my language for you. Don’t be upset about anything, no matter what is happening. Pray about it, and tell God your need. While you are waiting for God to move, be a very thankful and grateful person for all that God has done for you already. (Note: Let me say here that if God never did one thing for us except write our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that alone is more than enough.)- Joyce Meyer

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Are you feeling any discontentment at this moment? Are you happy with your life & all that you have? Compared to so much of the world’s population – and to most all of the people who have ever lived for all of history for that matter –we have so much. So much wealth, so much stuff, so much comfort and safety, so much to keep us occupied.

I read an interesting statement recently: “Many of us have discovered that, as our possessions multiply, so too does our discontentment.” The author of that statement is Tim Challies who blogs at Challies.com and who was making the case that there is an inverse relationship between how much we have & how much we think we need to be content. His prime example was Adam and Eve. They had the whole perfect world in their grasp (not to mention a personal, hands-on relationship with God Himself!). And, as Challies puts it: “…somehow they determined that they could not possibly be content unless they had the fruit from that [one, off-limits] tree.”

I began to wonder how this happens. How can we have so much yet feel so much discontent with all that we have. A couple things came to mind. One was that, as our focus is set on things to acquire, we can sometimes take our focus off of people. And especially One person, our God. As we get heads down working hard at our tasks at hand (maybe that next big purchase and how we are going to afford it) it’s hard to notice the people around us. People in need near us; even our families sometimes go comparatively unnoticed. Often our thought-lives are taken up with desire for that new house, new car, new whatever, just fill in the appropriate blank. And relationships go wanting.

A corollary thought to the one above that came to mind is this: things can’t bring lasting happiness. Lasting happiness is found in personal relationships. A car can only do what it’s designed to do. A house is simply a house. Neither of these can comfort you when you’re hurting. Or give you a hug, a kiss on the cheek, and a pledge of love no matter what. Only people can do those kinds of things. The minute we acquire our new must-have, it begins to lose its luster, its appeal. Soon it is just there (assuming it still works after some time of use); another in a long line of things.

Of course, it must be said that people in our lives can lose their luster, as well. Relationships require attention and must be nourished or they will die or become no longer appealing. But the point here is that, with our investment in them, relationships can grow, bloom and return wonderful, on-going outpourings of love, trust, satisfaction, and meaning in life. And that’s a lot to ask for from a new car!

By:  Lee Pierce

 

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