How content are you right now? Be honest.
Is it even possible to be content no matter what? Can we accept what Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:6, “Contentment with godliness is great gain?” Can we really experience contentment in the midst of a relationship crisis, job loss, life threatening health situation, brokenness, betrayal, etc…you fill in the blank with your discontent issue.
I believe like me, you may struggle with this, at least occasionally. Perhaps our world would be much more pleasant if we weren’t always striving for something “else”.
Let’s define contentment as happiness in one’s life situation and discontentment as craving for what we don’t have. We have a biblical example of this as we read, in the book of Esther, about Haman’s desire to have the one thing he didn’t have. He was second in power only to the King, but one Jew, Esther’s uncle Mordecai, didn’t respect and bow down to him and he was livid!
Another example is oin the garden we see Adam and Eve had it all but one thing…that one tree. And desire for it led to the downfall of all mankind.
I believe contentment is not only possible, but spiritual contentment is a spiritual discipline ESSENTIAL if we want to have deep abiding joy. This is joy that flows out of our lives into the lives of others as they see what Christ means to us and how He makes the difference.
Christian contentment is allowing God to teach us in the midst of our situation no matter how painful or disappointing we feel it is. Sometimes God wants to change us or our circumstance and causes us to experience “holy discontentment”, but we can have contentment even in that when we walk in faith.
Today’s post will be the first in a 4 part series on the topic of contentment as we address one of the issues that causes us to be discontent: COMPARISON.
Why is it that when we compare ourself to someone else, we think her gain is our loss?
We see in Genesis 29: 16-18 the start of a situation that will go on for years in Jacob’s family between his two wives. In fact, if you read the earlier part of Genesis, you see his whole family line has manipulated. lied and cheated to have something they think they need.
Rachel was the pretty one while Leah was not so much so. She had was was called tender or weak eyes that could’ve meant dull, wearied, ordinary, tired, stupid, or yearning! All this while Rachel was beautiful in “form and appearance”. Perhaps one looked desirable like the car on the right on the banner photo, and the other…well, you get the picture.
Later in this chapter and following we see discontentment due to infertility for Rachel and lack of love from a husband for Leah. When Leah was having children and Rachel wasn’t, Rachel was miserable. Because Rachel had Jacob’s love and Leah didn’t, Leah was miserable. Back and forth this goes on. No one is satisfied and both thought because the other had what she wanted, neither could be satisfied.
Is there someone who has what you want, is doing what you want? Has that “perfect” family you want? Has the looks you want? Do you believe that because she has something you desire, that you are the loser here?
That doesn’t come from God, it comes from the enemy and our own selfishness. We must come to the place where we look to the the Lord for answers, contentment, peace and faith even if He doesn’t answer the way we prefer.
This is not the only reason we do not live contently in our situation. Be watching next week for the second reason we find ourselves discontent…circumstances, the “if onlys” of life. Keep reading and we will come to some practical ways to live this out at the end of this series.