My eyes spotted a pickup truck sitting a neighbor’s driveway and thought, “I want that.” I heard about another person’s prosperity and my response was “I want more.” The Spirit of God challenged my musings. I knew His voice asking, “Jerry, what is enough for you?” Ouch! Truth is, I am amply blessed, in need of nothing of this world to enjoy a comfortable life and at peace with God through Christ. And yet, from time to time, I find myself slipping into discontentment. This is a common human temptation because we tend to measure our worth by comparison to others – their wealth, their success, their position.
Let’s take the next step in dealing with those feelings and call them what they are – sin. Though common, discontentment is a destructive choice that keeps us from pleasing God and the joy He provides. In the ancient code the 10th Commandment tells us “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17, NIV) The New Testament turns it into a positive – “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8, NIV)
Christian we can find and live in true contentment, only when our soul is at rest in God, when we know the inner transformation of the Spirit. Think on this inspired text. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV) Simply said He has provided everything we need to be all that He desires us to be. And, that is the real meaning and essence of a full life.
When we want ‘more things’ it is generally a revelation of something amiss deeper in us. We may be struggling with feelings of inferiority that drive us to want to build an image of success. We could be wrestling with uncertainty about the future and our anxiety becomes fertile soil in which the desire for more things grow. It might be a loss of a job or even the death of someone close that causing us to crave the perceived satisfaction of owning something new.
I can tell you that new things cannot fill a hole in your heart any more successfully than water can fill a bucket with a hole in the bottom!
Discontentment cannot be dealt with by logic or reason alone. Christian, it is a spiritual need that only can be met with change from the inside out. The wisdom of the Word tells us that Christ Jesus IS sufficient for us, that He is more than Enough IF we are willing to radically put our trust and hope in Him. We realistically assess where we are in life, what we feel about our situation, and we turn to Him. “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, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him (Jesus Christ) who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV)
There is plenty of evidence of the consequence of unchecked discontentment in the story of the Exodus. God’s people were led out of slavery, promised a home, and fed with daily provisions. They still pined for ‘new’ and ‘different.’ Their craving for things apart from God eventually led to their rejection of God’s will – a choice that caused Him to let them wander in the wilderness until an entire generation died off. Their discontent led to faithlessness which led to rebellion which led to being themselves off from His Presence. What a sobering lesson!
James says that in the middle of our trials we should ask God for what we need. “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2, NIV) We do not have to beg. We come, open hands and open hearts, and place ourselves before Him, allowing Him to change us from the inside out so that the ‘desires of our heart’ are reshaped to align with the will of God. If we selfishly want things of this world, we have no assurance that God will give them to us just because we request them of Him. IF we hunger for Him, He promises that we will be satisfied. What will you choose?
In submission we find the grace to rest, to live with confident faith in His love and care, and we are liberated from discontentment and greed. Remember the picture of the 23rd Psalm? “God, my Shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” (Psalm 23:1-3, The Message) Sheep surrender to the leadership of the shepherd and he provides pasture. Will we trust the Good Shepherd?
The word from the Word is a simple proverb. It goes straight to the truth.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30, NIV)
May He teach us to rest in Him.
Build My Life
Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You We live for You
Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me
I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken
Brett Younker | Karl Martin | Kirby Elizabeth Kaple | Matt Redman | Pat Barrett
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