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  • Writer's pictureMatt Garris

Contentment

Are you content? In a world where so much seems to be going wrong, it is hard to be content without feeling guilty about it. Even if you manage to become content, the nagging feeling that the world is passing you by often causes that contentment not to last very long. However, it is important that we learn to be content. Contentment may seem difficult, but it benefits you.


Why is it so hard to be content? There are at least two major reasons you may struggle to find contentment in this world: you are disappointed by the shortcomings of this world and your mind is consumed with those things which are to come. If your mind is fixed on things above, you will find the things of this world disappointing. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “put eternity in [our] hearts.” This means we have a conscious knowledge that there is more available than what this world has to offer, and we long for the day when we can fully enjoy it. Romans 8:23 says that we “groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Believers are not at home in this world, and should not become complacent during our time here, but that does mean we cannot ever be content.


In fact, we should be content, as it guards against greed, lust, and other sins. Consider Paul’s guidance to Timothy concerning contentment: “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 shall we be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).


While Paul is speaking primarily about material contentment, his words apply to other areas of our lives as well. We should be content with our possessions, our relationships, and our stations in life. There are times when it’s okay to want more than what you already have, but you should not despise your present blessings for those which may come in the future. This principle runs throughout Scripture, from Adam and Eve’s desire for future wisdom over present perfection in Genesis 3:6 to the commandment “You shall not covet” in Exodus 20:17, to Jesus’ preaching against worrying about tomorrow in Matthew 6:25-34. Paul himself said that he had learned to be content in any circumstance (Philippians 4:11).


Like Paul, we must also learn to be content with what the Lord has given us. We do this by replacing worry about the future with trust in God, replacing selfish desires with thanksgiving, and choosing to enjoy the moments God has given us while we have them. Trust God, thank Him for His blessings, and enjoy the people, time, and things with which He has blessed you. Trust, thanksgiving, and joy lead to contentment, and godliness with contentment is great gain.


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