My dear Friends, I am sure you will agree with me that some days living this Christian life is a great mystery. No matter our age or stage in life, whether married or single, the mother of children or childless, we all have one thing in common – there are times when we are discontented.
Especially, during this quarantine, when most of us are stuck at home. Haven’t we all at one time or another said, “If only I could go …” or “I wish I could do … so I wouldn’t have to …” “Why do I have to …” “When will I have …”
Is there some little seed in the back of our minds, planted by a friend, the TV, or our own confused thoughts, that says, “This isn’t right – It’s not fair – Why me”? We are discontented. We are our mother Eve’s daughters. Even in the perfect Garden of Eden, Eve became discontented.
You have heard it said, “We always want what we don’t have” or “The grass is always greener …” Why is that? Because, being discontented with our lives is an epidemic in our culture today as it was in Thomas Watson’s day. He wrote a book about it in 1653 called, “The Art of Divine Contentment.” (I recommend you get a copy of it as quickly as you can!)
Watson said, “Discontent is to the soul as a disease is to the body … yet the disease is not to be excused because it is natural, but resisted because it is sinful.”
Watson was saying discontentment is a disease of the soul to be resisted. It is sin. (There is a godly discontentment that God bestows; I am not talking about that.) You know what I am talking about. God has given us a purpose and a station in life and how we rail against it sometimes! He caused us to be born in a certain place, at a certain time, to certain parents. Why? For His purposes – and those purposes, though we may not know them or understand them, should be good enough for us.
Paul said godliness with contentment is great gain in 1Timothy 6:6. Godliness is to fear the Lord and to acknowledge His sovereignty over all of life, and so seek to honor Him in all we do. Contentment is to be satisfied. We are to be satisfied with God and what He has done. If we are content with God, it will bring us great freedom and joy. I believe that is what Paul means by great gain.
Paul said he had learned to be content in all circumstances. Whatever his conditions, good or bad, he could be content because he was content with God.
Loved Ones, we need to get our eyes off our circumstances, off people, off ourselves, and rivet them on Christ.
Asaph in Psalm 73 was discontented when he saw that the wicked prospered and he did not, until verse 17, then he turned his eyes upon God and saw the end of the wicked: desolation and terrors. In verses 21 and 22, he repents and then he says in verses 23 and 24: “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Asaph renewed his mind in the Lord and turned from discontentment to satisfaction.
I bought myself some Peanut M&Ms today. I thanked God that He created peanuts and I thanked Him for chocolate (I do that frequently.) I thanked Him for Walgreens drive through.
I am contented.
Please, I am not making light of the great sin of discontentment. It is a grave sin to say to God, “You aren’t doing this right. My life is not as I wish it!”
Stop it! Start with the small stuff. Peanut M&Ms.