This week we are shifting our attention to the emotion of contentment. Are you satisfied with your life, your job, your family, or even yourself? If we are being completely honest, most of us are not. We long for an improvement in one or more of these areas. We feel we are lacking something, and we are constantly seeking it.
Can we even be content in this day and age when everything in society tells us what we have is not enough?
Contentment is a type of emotion, but it is also a choice. God often will not satisfy our wants until He sees that we can be content with what He has already given us. He knows the proverbial the grass is greener on the other side mindset that most of us display and He is working to eliminate that nature in us for a greater good.
But man, the struggle is REAL!
How can we develop a true sense of contentment when everything within us is striving for something more? To answer that question, let’s first look at the words of King Solomon.
Solomon was the son of King David and his wife, Bathsheba. His life as king started off well because when the Lord came to him to bless him, he chose to ask God for wisdom above all else and it pleased God.
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.” 1 Kings 3:10-14 NLT
Sounds good so far, right? Solomon would go on to acquire great wealth and the wisdom he displayed among the people brought him much honor. But somewhere along the way, Solomon became discontent. Soon all his power and riches bought no lasting happiness.
The most notable area that Solomon was discontent in was his marriages. The Bible states Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Of even more significance is the fact that this Jewish king had taken many foreign women to be a part of this massive harem. In doing so he broke God’s commandment to the Jewish people to not intermarry with foreigners. God’s ruling on this was not one of racism, but a clear directive of protection to the Jewish people so that they would not take up worshiping heathen gods. As Solomon grew his collection of foreign females, he indeed would allow them to influence him and cause his own heart to turn from God (1 Kings 11).
Rich, powerful, popular, and endlessly searching for happiness. That was Solomon in what should have been the best years of his life. And in his later years, he would reflect on it and give us great insights written in the book of Ecclesiastes. If you have never read through this particular Old Testament book, I encourage you to do so. Solomon gives us a real-world view of what having it all truly looks like and how it all ends.
So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 NLT
Ever had that chasing the wind feeling? I know I have.
I think Solomon has helped answer our original question: “Is there contentment to be found in this world?” Clearly, if we are seeking contentment from the world’s viewpoint, we are headed for disappointment – every single time!
The answer to being content lies in our heart and our connection to Christ. In Christ there is contentment. Without Him we are nothing more than restless spirits who will aimlessly wander from one fleeting pleasure to another. Paul is our best example on how to be content regardless of our situation.
Paul who suffered beatings, jail, and even shipwrecks pursuing his one goal of spreading the Good News about Christ gives us the perfect picture of contentment. In his letter to the Philippian church, he writes:
How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. Philippians 4:10-14 NLT
Paul brings the giver of contentment into full view. A life lived for Christ, dependent on and in rhythm with Christ, is a life in which contentment can be found. Our circumstances cannot be the determining factor of whether we will be content or not. We must seek Christ and His will to find a true sense of satisfaction that can withstand any situation.
Lord, as we take the time to focus on contentment this month, I pray You will refocus our hearts away from the things that are distracting us from You. I pray that unlike Solomon we will not find this life meaningless but completely worthwhile. That we will know the joy of living our lives fully on fire for You and what satisfaction that brings. Lord that we would count the many blessings You give us, and despite the worst of circumstances, we would let our hearts praise You. We admit Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts and Your ways higher than our ways. We give You our life to do with what You will, trusting You know best. Amen.
Founder, Transforming Love Ministries
Creator, She Steps Forward Women’s Conference
Please note all scripture was taken from the NLT.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.