Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink
and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the
sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is
his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and
wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward
and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. For he will not often
consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the
gladness of his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
Are you angry and
frustrated much of the time? Does it seem like so many things are going against
you? Do you find yourself thinking things like, I'd be happy, if I had just a little bit
more (Insert one of the following) control, a little more power, a little bit
more pleasure, a little bit more approval, a little more money, a better car, a
bigger house, a husband, a child, a better job, could stay home and not work.
When a person is
discontent nothing is ever good enough or "right" enough for them.
Like Israel of old, we can begin to
treasure things that capture our hearts.
Wanting a better job, a nicer husband or
kids that are smart and obedient is not bad in and of itself, but an attitude
of entitlement or demand that develops from wanting them leads a person down
the path to destruction.
“Entitlement” or “demand” is what leads a
married woman with a loving husband to commit adultery or seek pornography. She
is looking for just a bit more pleasure, more comfort, and more excitement, or whatever
she thinks she is entitled to. It's also
why popular people are never quite popular enough and become people pleasers to
gain more approval. It's why the powerful often desire more power or
influence, and why the controlling person never has quite enough control.
These are some of the idols that will produce discontent.
We pursue treasures that really cannot
be found, treasures that never truly satisfy and the harder we pursue them the
more complex life becomes because sin complicates everything. Discontentment reveals a covetous
heart. Inside you want something God has
not planned for you to have. When you
covet something you will allow the desire for what you want to govern your relationship
with other people (and God). When you covet
it reveals that in your heart you value a particular thing over your
relationship to the Lord. God's
blessings are overlooked or forgotten as you want something better than what you
I despise the feeling of discontent, yet I have to own it because I lived that
way for a good number of years and I will tell you (as if you didn't already
know) that it is a miserable way to go through life. I know my deceitful heart is prone to discontent and prone to covet and
when the object of my affections does not materialize I'm prone to even greater
discontent. For some reason we think the grass is always greener on the other
side of the fence.
Contentment is not easy to develop in life; in fact, we cannot develop it
…for I have learned
to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Phil 4:11
Contentment is learned, it is grown, it is found. It comes as we resist the temptation to be
anxious about all that we think we should have and don’t. Contentment comes as
we examine our heart and through self-examination and the Word of God weed out
the worldly thoughts, beliefs, and desires that lead us to become discontent
with our worldly possessions.
Contentment grows through selflessness, and doing the will of God in our
lives- even at personal cost to ourselves. Contentment is found in Christ
alone. Just as Jesus found His contentment in the Father, we too must determine
that our contentment will be found in who we are in Christ.
We will be content as God does His perfect work in our heart, digging,
ferreting out the sinful idols that reside there, and knocking down the high
places. As God reorients our entire being to be one that desires to bring Him
glory by how we live this life until He takes us home into eternal life.