July 1, 2022

The Problem of Contentment

Generally while you’re studying the Bible, you possibly can blow previous phrases which are so easy you really miss how profound they’re. For me, a kind of is available in 1 Timothy 6, as Paul warns his younger protégé, Timothy, in opposition to the religious risks of pursuing wealth, starting with this admonition in v. 6: “However godliness with contentment is nice achieve.”

It’s really easy to underestimate the depth of Paul’s instructing right here, partly as a result of it’s so self-evidently true: godliness is sweet. So is contentment. And rising in each is an effective factor. Regardless of the deceptively easy thrust of Paul’s instructing, nevertheless, rising in each of these items, godliness and contentment, is hardly a easy or certain factor. Right now I’d prefer to focus a bit on the latter.

The Grass Isn’t Greener

I’m not naturally a content material individual. It’s far simpler for me to fixate on what I don’t have than what God has graciously given me. I’m certain I’m not alone in that, given the truth that we dwell in a tradition that frequently stirs up our needs for extra — extra of just about something we will need or think about.

On prime of our client tradition’s continually agitating affect, I believe there’s one other sneaky little lie that steals into our hearts that quietly pilfers our lives of contentment. That lie goes one thing like this: I’ll be extra content material after I lastly have what my coronary heart needs most.

Let me illustrate that lie with a narrative. I keep in mind a time in my 20s after I was deep within the throes of discontentment, desperately eager for marriage. I used to be speaking about that battle with an older, wiser and godly mentor who instructed me that contentment wasn’t contingent upon our life circumstances — particularly, whether or not I used to be married or not. “Should you’re not content material as a single individual, you’re probably not going to be content material as a married individual, both,” he stated. Contentment, he advised as a substitute, was a religious self-discipline and mindset we domesticate day-after-day, no matter our circumstances.

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Within the second, I bristled. It completely wasn’t what I needed to listen to. And, frankly, I assumed he was loopy. “In fact I’ll be extra content material after I’m married,” I assumed.

Within the years since, nevertheless, I’ve come to acknowledge his knowledge: Each season of life has challenges that may undermine our contentment. I can get precisely what I need in a single space and nonetheless discover myself ruminating on my lack in another space. Certainly, contentment has little or no to do with our circumstances — what I’ve or what I don’t have — simply as my mentor identified.

That stated, I believe that the seasons of singleness and marriage pose decidedly completely different challenges on the subject of rising in contentment.

As a single, I struggled to maintain surrendering my need for a spouse to God. It was an ongoing battle, one which was additional difficult by the truth that I needed to make all my selections alone. When discontent gripped my coronary heart tightly, it was troublesome for me to see the relative freedom and open-ended nature of the only life as a blessing. I longed for somebody to share my life and sense of mission with.

Alternatives to Belief

The enemies of contentment in married and household life look completely different — they usually’re maybe extra mundane. The opposite day, for instance, I got here house early from work. My spouse and three kids have been out for a few hours. It was a uncommon, uncommon window of time to myself. I used to be drained and simply needed to loosen up. However as I seemed round the home, I may see there was rather a lot that wanted to be carried out: choosing up toys, unloading the dishwasher, and so on. I didn’t need to do these duties, however I knew it might serve my spouse and kids nicely to do them. At the same time as I began cleansing, a whiny voice rose up inside and began bellyaching. I needed to consciously ask God to assist me yield my need for some me-time to Him and select — willingly — to do what was finest for my household.

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It’s in these moments of choice — Am I going to concentrate on my unmet wants or am I going to yield them to God and ask Him to assist me? — that we develop in contentment. And although the particulars might change, every season of life contains alternatives to belief God with our unmet wants and needs, all of which He can use to assist us to develop in godliness and contentment.

Copyright 2012 Adam Holz. All Rights Reserved.