Contentment. Poverty doesn’t provide it and money can’t buy it. While the deception of poverty is usually black and white, as in, you either have it or you don’t; the deception of the affluent is more subtle.
The well-to-do don’t fear having a lack of possessions but the loss of them. You’ve seen the news articles – A once exceptional husband & father who murders his family after a job loss and is facing financial ruin.
When the needy commit suicide, it’s easy to assume a lack of money, is the root cause. Yet, most of us seem surprised when the rich [and sometimes famous], take their own lives or murder their families. People tend to blindly assume that because they have money, they’re content.
Living Within Your Means
Mind you, it doesn’t have to be to this extreme. “Keeping up with the Jones,'”is seemingly harmless. I mean, if you can afford the shoes, the car, the house, what’s the problem? The problem is discontentment breeds further discontent. This week, it’s shoes. Next month, the car. Next year, the house. When we adopt worldly goals as our standard, we will no longer deny ourselves, put others first, and step-down from the fabricated hierarchy that comes with having more. Our cultural norm is to be more and thus, have more; to live outside our means and then go as far as going into debt to sustain a counterfeit lifestyle. Contentment takes practice. Moreover, breaking the bad habits that lead to a lack of contentment.
Discontentment is easily a preferred blueprint for Satan. Adam and Eve were no exception when they ate from the one tree that God forbade them to eat. Why? Because Satan magnified what they lacked; he had them believe that what God had given them was not enough – that they were not enough. Ultimately, they disobeyed God after having been deceived into believing that they deserved more than what God had already provided.
Sound familiar? We want what we want, when we want it. Even once we acquire that which we covet, the satisfaction is temporary. After the initial excitement wanes, we’re onto the next object of our desire.
No matter what we are doing or what we have, when your life is plagued with discontent, and your values placed in earthly gain, you will inevitably, always want what you don’t have.
We live in an “if this, then…” society. If ‘this’ happens, ‘then’ I’ll be happy. You fall in love and can’t wait to get married. Then you get married and think about about everything that’s wrong with your spouse, and you’re still not happy. You have children, and can’t wait for them to start school. Then when they’re in school, you can’t wait for them to graduate, and so it continues.
Contentment is an attitude. You have to decide to be content with where you are in your season of life. Below, I’ve listed some practical ways to help you choose a path to personal contentment.
- Be honest in your standard of living. In other words, live within your means. God provides our ability to obtain wealth. Deuteronomy 8:18 If you’re not being a good steward of what He has already given you, then you won’t be positioned to receive an increase.
- Establish a thankful attitude. Comparison is the thief of joy. Being thankful for what you have restores joy. When you are tempted to be less than thankful for all your provisions, stop and praise God for what He has already bestowed you. You will always be discontented if you look at what you don’t have. Rather, look at what you do have. Remember, there will always be someone doing better than you, but there will also always be someone doing worse.
- Learn to give. Outside of the biblical principle of tithing, Christians are tasked with providing for the needs of others. Be it our time, attention, or gifts – financial or otherwise, give.
- Detach yourself from material possessions. This is not to say that you should surrender all your personal possessions, but maintain a willingness to do so. The sole purpose of your creation is to serve God, not to store up things of this world. Have you ever seen a hearse towing a U-Haul?
Contentment is Learned
Don’t misunderstand me. There’s nothing wrong with having or acquiring nice things; unless and until it distorts your ability to reside within the framework that God has supplied you. Having an abundance is not always evidence of God’s blessings. Satan is equally capable of duplicating such affluence.When you attempt to obtain excess by striving in your flesh, peace is certain to elude you and exhaustion set in.
Ask God to give you a heart that is satisfied at every place along your journey. Then be pliable and employ a willingness to modify your heart’s attitude, while believing that You. Are. Enough. You, without the shoes, the clothes, the bag, the car. Just you. Subscribe below.
Grace & Peace,