Contentment

<<happy, satisfied>>

This is being and doing what God wants of you, having the right perspective and priorities in life and utilising His power to achieve His goals. 

Our contentment should not be determined by our outward circumstances or with our possessions.

When feeling discouraged and discontented, to what or to whom are you drawn to fill that emptiness? When emotionally empty Satan tempts us to do things we normally wouldn’t do.

Discontentment in employment may be the result of your gifting not being used or you are frustrated because your expectations are not being met with things not going the way you would like and problems arising.  Because of man’s rejection of God all areas of life became difficult and ‘Satan tainted’ (Gen 3:16-19).

Don’t run from problems as this is admitting defeat, rather ask for God’s help to confront and overcome them and so be victorious in life.  No one is good at everything and yes, others probably could do it better!  Attempting and achieving (even if there are failures) provides satisfaction. Be motivated by faith and a desire to see the need met. God is on the lookout for volunteers and will accomplish His purposes through them (Isa 6:8; Lk 1:38).

Enjoy the earthly things that God gives yet none should hold or control us and be happy to go without. Paul said he was content in all situations (Phil 4:11-13). He relied on Christ’s power in his life, claimed the divine promises and committed himself to the out working of God’s purposes. In this consumer age when many people are amassing

  Be content with what you have,                          not with what you are

things for themselves rather than adding to your possessions reduce your desires. Jesus said, our life or happiness isn’t governed by the amount of possessions we have.  Possessions and having plenty can lead us away from God making our lives unfruitful (Mk 4:19, 10:22; Lk 12:15-21; 1 Tim 6:10). Until we are happy with who we are we won’t be happy with what we have. Having both a really fulfilling life on earth and eternal life result from knowing God as expressed in Christ is the best way to go; this is available to all people, rich or poor regardless of other factors (Jn 10:10, 17:3; 1 Tim 6:19). The Bible instruction is to, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have” (Heb 13:5).

Sin resulted when Eve allowed Satan to undermine her contentment, focusing on what she didn’t have rather than what she did have (Gen 3:1-6). We too, should count our blessings, looking at all the things we have, not the few we don’t. A wise man asked God for neither poverty nor plenty; so he wouldn’t be tempted to steal or be totally self-sufficient and so forget God (Prov 30:8,9). Rather than coveting another person’s position, possessions or personality, accept your lot realising that God wants to work in us through such situations (Ex 20:17; Rom 8:28,29). The world places great emphasis on what are only passing pleasures and are subject to deterioration and being surpassed by newer models (Mt 6:19-21).  “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Mk 8:36).  The world values earthly gain and wealth but for a Christian our greatest contentment is in God, knowing all is well between Him and us.  Then we will be eternally satisfied (Ps 17:15).

Lack of contentment brings envy, resentment, worry and dissatisfaction – the ideal is always just out of reach.  We should be content if we have the necessities of life. While it is natural to endeavour to improve our lot in life (as we remain totally dependent on God to bless and meet our need) this should not be an obsession to gain this world’s short-term passing qualities at the expense of the lasting eternal qualities (Mt 6:25-32; 1 Tim 6:8). Godliness with contentment being out worked by putting God’s Kingdom first is of immense value and should be a controlling influence in our lives (Mt 6:33; Lk 3:14; 1 Tim 6:6; Heb 13:5,6).

Contentment is not a fatalistic resolve, self-centered complacency or reliance on external worldly values, rather it is based on the internal heart attitudes, especially being in right relationship with God.

Establish some basic guidelines: settle for a reasonable standard of living, generously give to others in need, determine what your real values are in life, consider and plan for the unexpected ‘what ifs’ of life without hoarding, develop an attitude of thankfulness – a state of mind, not based on the accumulation of assets. Finding contentment is also the solution to reversing the growing debt levels in our society. Place a greater emphasis on your relationship to God and others rather than possessions.

Be discontented with being adequate – strive to be excellent, and more proficient as we “do it unto the Lord”, yet this shouldn’t cause undue frustration in the process (1 Cor 10:31). So although we should be content with our lot in this life we ought to continually be “pressing on…straining towards what is ahead” (Phil 3:12-14). There is no place for complacency in the spirit realm – there is always more territory to take for God, both within us and in others. Our priority should be for more of the spiritual, rather than the natural things.

See also: consumerism, desires, happiness, lust, peace, perspective, possessions, satisfaction, self-esteem.


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