At this time in my life, and I’m sure in yours as well, being content is something we wrestle with. Right now, in the middle of making decisions about jobs, relationships and school, discontentment and worry can come so quickly. Becoming an adult isn’t easy and amidst all of the busyness that comes along with it, it’s easy to forget where true priorities should lie.
The Word of God commands us to be content. What is contentment? Are you content? The dictionary’s definition says that contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction. If we look at it from the world’s perspective, contentment would be: getting everything that we want. Every person has a different idea of what they would desire, but normally it would be a nice house, perfect family, and an easy life. For a young person it probably means being in the “cool crowd” of friends, wearing the nicest clothes or having the best car or truck. The world’s view of contentment is so warped and it’s easy for us as Christians to get caught up in the whirlwind of it, especially when we are surrounded by it. With social media everybody’s lives can look better than mine just with a few pictures and posts. It becomes so easy for me to become envious and covetous of others lives.
As a Christian the definition of contentment means something different. The knowledge that we are to be content and satisfied in what we have been given at a certain point in our lives comes from a realization that it is a gift of grace, given by God to all of His children. It is an understanding and awareness of what God has done for us, and how we are to show our thankfulness for that. In 1 Timothy 6: 6-8 we read: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
We can learn to be content by trusting in our heavenly and wise Father. Knowing that “all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Contentment is not a natural trait, one I would be born with, it’s a state of learning and obeying. Learning through trying times and knowledge of God and His love for His people. God knows what we need, and it may not always be what we want. Psalm 37:3-5 says: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him and he shall bring it to pass.”
Contentment also comes with realizing our need for a Savior and how great our sins and miseries are. In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul is writing to the church a second time after he had first written a letter rebuking them for their sins. Paul sends Titus with his second letter to Corinth to see how they are doing and Titus comes back with a positive report saying that the people had turned from their sins. In this second letter, which Paul had sent with Titus, he speaks to the people about the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. In vs. 9 and 10 he says: “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Paul says here that worldly sorrow brings forth death. When we are discontent and begin chasing after the things of this world (riches, fame, sex, comfort), then those things begin to lead us away from Christ and towards spiritual death. Godly sorrow is a true sorrow of heart in which we want to get rid of our sins because we are truly sorry for sinning against God. When we repent of these sins we are lead closer to God, farther from sin, and nearer to contentment.
Our work here on earth is to praise God and exalt his Holy Name. We need to treasure those things, which are heavenly. Are we willing to give up everything we have here for those things? “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4). When we think of how great our reward will be in the end, the lesser things of life, such as clothes and appearance, don’t seem as important! “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him” (Js. 1:12). We will receive the reward of being in heaven with Christ.
Contentment brings peace to a believer. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). So when you are stressed about not being in the latest trends, getting the right job, about finding a godly spouse, or other life decisions, remember that God knows what is best for you. If you are bringing honor and glory to God’s name in whatever you are doing in life and placing your trust in Him, God will supply what you need. And with God bringing it to you it will be what is best for you.