Contentment is issue all people wrestle with, whether they claim a certain faith commitment or not. It just happens to be an essential aspect of the Christian faith. Contentment ultimately is humility and submission before the all wise and loving God who works all things together for his people’s good (Rm. 8:28). Humility and submission are diametrically opposed to the natural self. Logically, it makes sense, then, why contentment is so difficult. I must be content with what the Lord is doing in my heart and through my life where the Lord has me. This is hard.
Living in the land of the American Dream has significant pitfalls. Growing up with such a prevalent worldview gives one the false impression that you can do anything you want to do, be anything you want to be, and go anywhere you want to go. Reality check. You can’t. I can’t. This is a subtle lie. It’s a lie that keeps us continually searching for greener grass. However, as my pastor so elegantly put it to me in a recent conversation, “There is no greener grass.” What? You mean, where I am in life right now might be my “best life now.” Yup. But, is that really so bad?
Sure, I could list here the things about my life which I’m not totally jazzed about. But, those problems would ultimately rooted in my selfish heart. If I were to talk about my life, I might be tempted to focus on my lack of community and general feelings of loneliness; but I would be tempted not to mention my godly, Proverbs 31 wife graciously given me by God, or our beautiful, healthy baby girl. Nor would I focus on what I actually do at my job, which I love, but rather focus on my lackluster, non-six digit salary (unless of course you don’t count the decimal points). I might complain about the issues I’m having with my house, or my car, or my dog. Yet, I have these things. I have a roof. Our family cars work just fine. Our dog, though crazy, is great. Where in this paragraph is there room for discontentment?
There is another reason against discontentment that deserves its’ own paragraph. His name is Jesus. I’m a child of the King, co-heir with Christ (Rm. 8). My sins have been nailed to the cross, I bear them no more, praise the Lord. The love that elected my heart in eternity past is shaping, guiding and chastening my soul for God’s greater glory. Christ, who has called me, leads me now and will lead me to the end. Jesus has already seen me through great darkness and brought me out with joy unspeakable. He’s given me a family to shepherd and guide in His ways. He’s placed me in a position where my job is to teach His word. He is not surprised about where I am. Actually, as a reformed individual, I know this exact thing I’m doing now was decreed by God.
My discontentment remains because I’m focused more on what I’m doing in life than who I’m doing life for. My pastor took me to Luke 10 recently as we talked through contentment. Jesus sends out the seventy-two disciples and after a period of time, they return. They are pumped. They cast out demons. They did crazy miracles. They trampled on snakes and scorpions. They did some crazy stuff. As they tell Jesus what they’ve done, Jesus replies, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:20).
Don’t focus in what you do, where you live, what you make (or don’t make!). Rather, focus on who you are in Christ. In Christ, your names are written in heaven. In Christ, you are precious, and dearly loved. By Christ’s own blood you were redeemed. In Christ, you are a co-heir. It is not our work that gives us satisfaction. Rather, only the work of Christ truly satisfies the human soul. Define yourself by Christ. This is the key to contentment.