In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul says:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I recently discovered that I haven’t learned that. Oh, I don’t pine away for material possessions, but that’s no credit to my character. I have everything I need and so much of what I want. Yet, I am not content. Here’s how I know:
- I feel like I never have enough time to accomplish all I want and need to do.
- I feel dissatisfied with the amount of success I have in many areas.
- I feel frustrated with people who don’t behave the way I would like them to.
- I feel disappointed by institutions, my country, and even my church.
In short, I haven’t learned to be content like Paul. Can you relate? Do you find yourself wanting more and being dissatisfied?
Having had times in my life in which I experienced true contentment, I can say unequivocally that I wouldn’t trade it for momentary joy. While I am sure we will know joy in heaven, contentment has got to reign supreme. Over the next several weeks, I’d like to explore what God would like to teach us about His contentment while we still live on earth. I will know that I am learning when:
- I am not stressed out and in a perpetual hurry
- I see everything I accomplish as progress toward His purposes
- I recognize that people are wretched sinners like me who are in the Lord’s hands; if we weren’t, we wouldn’t need a Savior
- I understand that God is in control of every institution, country, and church and I’m not
The sweet baby pictured above would not be content if he had fear. Fear is opposed to contentment. We’ll delve into that in the coming weeks, but for now, here is your assignment:
- Look for instances of discontentment in your life. One I’ve noticed is a habit of looking at my smart phone constantly.
- When you notice lack of contentment, ask yourself what if anything you’re afraid of? I sometimes look at my phone because I’m afraid of being left out of a conversation. Looking at my phone makes me appear to be a busy, important person.
Thinking of some of my difficulties as lack of contentment is helpful to me. For example, concern about how much blogging I do isn’t leading me to work harder as it would have, but now to be content with the time I have.
How about you? Do you struggle with discontentment?