The following is a guest post, written by Bryan Johnson, long time Wade-O Radio listeners and supporters. Bryan’s info can be found at the bottom of this post. If you’re interested in guest blogging, please contact our managing editor, Mikaela.
Nowadays, we live in an “instant gratification” society. It’s focused on the latest, greatest, newest, and coolest things for us to acquire. This drive to get the newest of anything is the antithesis of God’s desire for us to be content in Him. If we don’t find contentment, then our own temptations for the trappings of the world, can drag us away from Him. We’ll begin to focus more on the cost of what we want, versus the value of what we already have, and this is where the issue lies.
When we become focused on the cost of something, the anticipation is when we can acquire it. Once we have it in our possession, the excitement of owning it wears off. Think of a young child that gets a new toy. It will get played with for a while, but sooner rather than later, the toy will be left in the hallway. Or pushed under a bed and forgotten about. Why? Because the child doesn’t value the toy.
But, let’s say the same child has a blanket that’s been around for a while. Even when someone tries to replace the blanket, the child will not let it go. Why? Though the child may not understand the concept, we know that the he/she values the blanket. The child doesn’t want or need a new one because they are content with the blanket they have. In the same way, God desires for us to be content with what He has already given us.
Our ability to feel content can be impacted by a variety of factors. The ones that stand out the most are: 1) our present circumstances can impact our contentment, 2) contentment requires a shift in focus, from lateral (earthly) to vertical (Heavenly) and 3) contentment isn’t easy.
Circumstances Impact Contentment
Ideally, we strive to be content in all things, but sometimes, our desires to alleviate our present situation can get in the way. We’ll have thoughts, or encounter situations that cause us to want “more”. Or we’ll look at our station in life and begin to feel unfulfilled. It is during these times where we can fall into temptation. We start looking at what we have as not being enough, and the “more” that we seek become idols. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 30 verses 8 and 9:
“… Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.” [NLT]
When we arrive at a place spiritually, where we can say, “God, just give me what I need; no more and no less,” we’re entering into a place of contentment.
Shifting Our Focus
To reach this “content place,” our focus must shift from what we don’t have, to Christ. However, if we’re to continue to mature in Christ, then it’s a necessary transition. Paul stated as much when he wrote in 1 Timothy 6:6-8:
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be [content].” [NLT]
Admittedly, shifting our focus isn’t easy. It’s something that we have to work on daily, as in Romans 12:1-2. But, when our minds begin to change, the true godliness that Paul wrote about will begin to manifest. And with it, not just contentment, but the peace of God, that we all search for, will begin to inhabit our lives as well.
Contentment Is Hard
But do you know why finding contentment is hard? Because, we all want nice, new things. When we can’t get what we want, our feelings may be hurt, or we may devise ways that aren’t pleasing to God, to get these things that we want. It’s in these times that being content is a struggle. Much like with shifting our focus, however, we have to rely on the strength of Christ to get us through the hard times. Each time we do this, it becomes a little easier, and we make our relationship with Christ a little stronger.
When we understand, and accept that our contentment should be in Him, and Him alone, our lives will change. We won’t seek the trappings of the world. Instead, we’ll appreciate what He has entrusted to us. When we’re ready for more, God will see to it that we get it, in His time, at His discretion.
Again, getting to a place of contentment in life isn’t easy. We can’t look at what we think, or feel our life is missing. If we set our sights on the one who came from above, we’ll be more concerned with living a life pleasing to Him, and not ourselves.
What in your life impacts your level of contentment? Is being content easy for you, or does it come hard for you? What do you do to increase your level of contentment?