Family Way # 10
"We are content with what we have, not coveting what others have."
“But Godliness is actually of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out, either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
I Timothy 6:6-8
Rage, anger, frustration, jealousy, selfishness and envy storm in every person's soul. How do I know? Because they have raged in my own soul.
Sometimes sin seems like a distant, impersonal issue in church sermons.Pronounced from the pulpit, it seems far away, while our own sins go unknown by those around us.
Most of us sit silently, hiding the battles in our heart over our failure to love or forgive, battling silently with the demons that plague us at times when we see into the dark corners of our hearts.
We underestimate the damage sin has caused. A grid of self-centered reality permeates the way we see life. When we measure ourselves by the circumstances of our lives, we often come up judging others, criticizing them rather than ourselves.
Our sin corrupts our vision.
Our culture glorifies material possessions as a source of happiness. Those who have more are said to be happier than those of who have less, and we feel if we are the less-have-ers, we are somehow unjustly struggling. We believe a new house, a better car, a larger salary, or more recognition will bring us happiness. Often, the longing for more things leads to us idolizing money, working extremely long hours as we seek to provide for ourselves instead of trusting God with our humble circumstances. Physical perfection, too, is held up as a standard everyone should be able to match--although, of course, we always come up short in real life which is not airbrushed or filtered!
All of these sources and other cultural messages feed our vulnerable, tender point of temptation--that of discontent. If only we had......a better car, a bigger house, a better marriage partner, more well-behaved children, a more exciting life, more love, etc ... then we would be happier. It is not sinful or wrong to have desires for something more. We were made for perfection, love, joy, and great blessing.
However, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, it set the whole world in a motion of destruction and brokenness, disappointment and living well became a battle.
The only way that we will ever be able to be content is to realize the nature of a fallen world--(this is not heaven yet) and then to cultivate a level of thanksgiving and contentment in the life we have been given. To choose to see the goodness of God, to look for His fingerprints every day in our lives, to have an eternal perspective is the only way we will be able to be content.
Contentment is a heart issue. We cannot change our emotions and selfish desires by force. Our only hope is to look to God, to ask Him to teach our heart to be contented, to want to trust Him and not live in ungratefulness or in looking to what others have. Choosing to be content, resting our desires and dreams into God's hands, learning to love and bring light into broken places is the beginning of learning to be content.
As long as we covet what we do not have, we will never be at peace.
Whether in marriage or family or with possessions, the beginning of contentment is to know that having our own way and practicing selfishness or expecting perfection in a fallen world, will just be a vain goal.
Join me today on my podcast and ponder how to give the burdens you are carrying to God and how to breathe in contentment in your life.