Today’s Readings: Philippians 4:10-13, Luke 12:15, 1 Timothy 6:10-11, Matthew 6:33
Contentment is defined as, “a state of happiness and satisfaction.” To be at a place in your life where you feel satisfied. Bible.org gives us a more biblical meaning by describing it as, “…an inner sense of rest or peace that comes from being right with God and knowing that He is in control of all that happens to us.” The world looks for contentment in all the wrong places; social status, money, job titles, etc. But true contentment in every situation comes from our Lord.
Real quick… God works in such awesome ways. I took a break after writing the paragraph above to go to the Lifeway Christian Book Store. My only intent for going there was to get a new Bible with my new last name on it. When I got there I was saddened to see that the store is going out of business! It breaks my heart to see such a great store, closing its doors forever. The only good thing to come out of it was the sales… everything was 70%! Since I couldn’t pass on such a great deal, I decided to look around the entire store to see if there was anything that interested me. At first I was just looking for anything I thought might intrigue me, but halfway through I asked God to point out specific books He thought would be good for me to get. The two books that caught my eye right away were titled, 12 Things Jesus Said About Money, and Why Her? Neither of those really screamed “contentment” to me but I knew I needed to get them. As I got home and started reading the first few pages, BOTH books spoke about contentment right away.
Here’s a part of the book, 12 Things Jesus Said About Money that specifically talked about contentment and stood out to me, “Help us be satisfied, Lord, with each day’s supply, knowing that You know it will always be enough for whatever we need. The biblical term for this godly character trait is contentment…” it then goes on to say, “Paul reminded him [Timothy] how we came into this world with nothing. How we will leave this world with nothing. And how as long as we have ‘food and clothing’ – the basic, everyday necessities of life – the presence of contentment in our hearts will be of far more value to us than whatever else could be added financially to our sum total (vv. 7-8).”
Now, the other book that I purchased, Why Her?, discusses how comparison to others can tear us apart and leave us feeling broken. The book’s main focus is to encourage us in our struggle with comparison, and realize that God has entrusted a specific life plan to each and every individual, and it’s our responsibility to surrender and know that His way is above our own. This book had SO many good points that quickly caught my attention and pricked at my heart including…
- “Comparison brings out our competitive streak, which eats away at our contentment, which then starts to destroy our confidence, until we’re fighting to keep up with an unrealistic standard.”
- “Maybe now [referencing the expression] makes it all about me being better than her. It tries to convince me that just one more step, one more thing, one more relationship, one more promotion, will be the key that leads to long-term contentment, in comparison with her.” DISCLAIMER: this is SO not true.
- “When our circumstances don’t change, we only have two choices: settle and pout, or shift and praise.”
I really can’t stress how relevant these are to me and my life. I know I have a comparison problem and it really is something I’ve been working on and something I’ve been praying about. If anyone is able to help me through this struggle of mine, I know it’s my God.
Another point I think it’s important to note is how largely our desires play a role in our contentment. In order to be content, we must first make sure our desires are in the right place. Remember, desiring things that are important to you and your life aren’t bad, unless those desires are becoming idols. Our desires come from God, thus they should never be greater than Him. However, if your desires are truly good and godly, don’t let go of them. God gives specific desires to specific people so that they may use them to uplift Him and His kingdom. That’s our whole purpose in this life- to ultimately glorify God in all we do; that includes our desires! If we’re chasing after ungodly desires we will never be content. We will also never be content if the motives for our desires are ungodly. These include, desiring something because someone else has it, desiring something because of the attention you’ll receive, or desiring something because the world tells you, you should. We need to humble ourselves before God and surrender to what He has planned for our lives. Once we realize what it is that God wants us to do and that His ways are always above our, we can begin our journey towards true contentment.
I found it so interesting that the two main areas of contentment that I struggle with are the two themes discussed in each book that I got (I seriously didn’t even realize that until after I got the books- like I said, God works in awesome ways!) Finances are definitely something I struggle to be content with. I’m embarrassed that I worry about money as much as I do because I KNOW that money is the root of all evil and that it’s not following me to eternity. Yet, it still seems to be one of the main things I worry about. The second area of contentment I struggle with is just comparing myself to others in general. Whether it be jobs, houses, materialistic things… I always find myself struggling to be content with what God has blessed me with already (shame on me.) I’ve been praying and asking God to help me focus on what He has specially entrusted to me in my life, rather than questioning why I don’t have what someone else does. Let me tell you… it’s not easy! My flesh takes over all the time and I start feeling uneasy but I always try and list off everything God has already blessed me with and remind myself that He always gives me everything I NEED.
God reminds us in Matthew 6:33 that if we seek Him first above all else, He will bless us with more than we deserve. However it’s not our right to tell God what we should be blessed with. He knows our heart’s desires but we need to remember that we deserve nothing and that EVERYTHING He gives us is indeed a blessing. I know it’s hard seeing someone else live out what you desire (trust me I’ve been there) but when we choose to just surrender to God and HIS Will for our life… we begin to see how many blessings we truly have. Materialistic things will dwindle away but God’s love is forever and ever. If we shift our focus on the Lord and submit to His ways, I believe we can find true contentment in our lives.