Recently I was chatting with several friends about the spirit of discontent that appears to permeate every facet of twenty-first century society. One friend shared her grandchildren were encouraging their parents to divorce. There was no abnormal conflict between the Dad and Mom, so they began to probe why their grandchildren would make such a suggestion. Investigation yielded that several of their friend’s parents were divorced. Now on holidays they receive many more gifts than they had when their parents were married! My friend’s children firmly confirmed that they intended to stay married and that they would continue in the established family gift-giving traditions. Regrettably, the inability of our culture to focus on and express gratitude for the present is prevalent. Such a worldview establishes the foundation for a lifestyle of discontentment.
Drawn from the Greek word arkeo, contentment primarily signifies sufficiency or satisfaction.
Scripture teaches that …
Those who seek contentment from money are never satisfied (Eccl 5:10).
Godliness with contentment is great gain (Ps. 37:16; 1 Tim. 6:6).
God’s promises should lead to contentment (Heb. 13:5).
Contentment is an acquired character quality (Phil. 4:11-12).
Believers are instructed to exhibit contentment with their
Callings (1 Cor. 7:20).
Wages (Luke 3:14).
Possessions (Heb. 13:5).
The food and raiment one has (1 Tim. 6:8).
Paul, in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, provides believers with a spiritual equation which consistently provides true contentment:
Godliness + Contentment= Great Gain.
The expanded formula for this equation might read: A consistent, authentic walk with God + an attitude of satisfaction with one’s heart (regardless of circumstances) = Constitutes great wealth.
Placing this equation into practical terms, what are the characteristics of a contented Christian woman? Some suggestions follow—may I encourage you to personalize it by expanding the list?
The Contented Christian Woman . . .
Actively believes that her heavenly Father is a sun and shield (God provides total protection), He gives grace and glory, and there is no good thing He will withhold from her if she is walking uprightly (Psalm 84:11).
Is a thankful woman. Thankfulness is a command, not a suggestion (1 Chron. 16:7-36; Ps. 100; 1 Thess. 5:18). Thankfulness springs from the will, not the emotions. Consider spending time in the book of Psalms underling all of the times the Psalmist states, “I will.” The Psalmist directs us to give thanks every morning and evening (Ps. 30:12; 92:1-3).
Acknowledges that discontentment, the opposite of contentment, is a sin. Romans 1:18-21 and 2 Timothy 3:1-2 remind us that discontentment is a characteristic of the unregenerate person and, in essence, is questioning God’s goodness.
Understands that contentment is an acquired character quality (1 Tim. 6:6-8).
The Christian Woman embracing the truth of 1 Timothy 6:6-8 will be able to solve the “Contentment Equitation” with 100% accuracy!
Kelsey’s Korner expands the importance of embracing the Apostle Paul’s teaching outlined in Philippians 4:11-12:
“Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content
in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with
humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity;
in any and every circumstance I have learned
the secret of being filled and going hungry,
both of having abundance and suffering need.”
Have you ever been to a birthday party for a child and watched them open their gifts? On occasion, the experience proves to be a test of my sanctification. Children are not necessarily known for excelling in kindness. If they don’t care for the gift they have unwrapped, they may cast it aside without a smile or a “thanks.” The mom, horrified, tries to convince the giver that the gift is “really great!” But what gets my blood heated still more is how, even in the midst of thrashing the wrapping paper off a gift, the child is already side-eyeing the next one—already discontent and anxious to open the others.
I made a humbling discovery this past week: I am that child! No, it’s not my birthday, and I definitely don’t have any gifts to unwrap (sigh…). But like the hypothetical birthday child, I have realized how discontent I have become with the gift in my hands. I keep side-eyeing the gifts to come!
Currently I’m in a season of incredible up-and-coming change. I complete graduate school in May, my husband is transitioning to a full-time job, and we are considering purchasing a home and desiring to have children soon.
But for now? I am stuck in the seemingly endless days of the “mundane.” So instead of practicing contentment right here and right now, I keep looking forward to and coveting the gifts not yet in my hands. This, sisters, is no way for a redeemed believer in Christ to live! This constant “Gift Side-eye” reveals several issues in our hearts:
It reveals a heart of discontentment. Like the Israelites grumbling in the wilderness (Ex. 16:2), our groans and sighs are not a pleasing sound to the Lord.
It reveals a heart of covetousness. Although looking forward to the future is fine (especially our future with Christ!), when we become obsessed and discontented over earthly gifts that Lord has not yet given, this is a form of covetousness.
If the sins of discontentment and covetousness are left unchecked, our eyes begin to drift not just away from our gifts, but away from our daily calling to serve and live for Christ. We become “couch potatoes” for Christ, ineffective and unmotivated in our service.
So how do we purpose to better treasure today’s gifts? As I pondered this question, the book of Lamentations came to mind. This book is, well, horribly sad. After ignoring all of the Prophet Jeremiah’s warnings and pleadings, Jerusalem received what the weeping prophet foretold would happen: the ultimate destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
This devastation occurred in 586 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army. Lamentations, written by the on-looking Jeremiah, is filled with vivid descriptions of incredible human suffering, including disease, famine, cannibalism, and death. However, despite the apparent hopelessness of the situation, Jeremiah remembers God and writes, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will have hope in Him.’” (Lam. 3:21-24). Jeremiah observed his countrymen suffer and die, and yet he recognized and rested in the daily mercies and love of the Lord. How much more should we who have been given so many earthly blessings stop and express our daily gratitude to our Lord?
In addition to the earthly gifts and mercies that the Lord daily places in our hands, God has given us the ultimate mercy: Christ. Although, because of our sins, we deserve destruction and eternal separation from God in Hell (Rom. 6:23), God made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself. He sent Christ, God in human form, to live the perfect life we have all failed to live. Christ died on the cross for our sins, taking the punishment that was rightfully ours (Rom. 5:8). Now, for those who believe in the work of Christ and give their lives for His service, he promises that our eternity will be spent in His presence (Rom. 10:9). Because of this ultimate blessing, we can say along with Jeremiah, “The LORD is my portion…therefore I will hope in Him” (Jer. 3:24). Focusing on this truth allows us the ability to solve the “Contentment Equation” with 100% accuracy!
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God’s Word states, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Therefore, I may boldly say, I am capable of solving the “Contentment Equation” with 100% accuracy!