One of my favorite quotes dealing with the subject of contentment is this: “As a rule, man is a fool. When it is hot he wants it cool, when it is cool he wants it hot, He is always wanting what is not.”
I do not remember where I first heard this saying, but it has stuck with me for years. I have been guilty of this. When it is summer time i complain about the heat. I say that I wish fall would hurry up so I can watch football again. When fall arrives I wish that the weather would hurry and turn colder to make for better hunting opportunities. During the heart of winter (assuming I have seen snow at least once) I long for spring time. I enjoy spending time playing with my family in the front yard, going hiking, fishing, and yes, I even enjoy a little yard work. As spring progresses I start looking forward to the vacation that I have planned… for the summertime.
In southwest Oklahoma we have been experiencing a pretty bad drought for the last couple of years. I would see many friends post on Facebook about how much we desperately need rain. Even going as far as to ask everyone to pray that God would bless us with abundant rain. Over the last week or so, we have been blessed with rain. You guessed it. It lasted about 24 hours before some of those same Facebook friends were complaining about the rain.
Unfortunately, this mindset does not stop at our desire for changes in weather. It shows its ugly head in many areas of our life. I believe that one of the hardest things to learn is also one of the most necessary. Contentment. When the apostle Paul spoke of contentment in Philippians 4:11 He mentioned that he had “learned” to be content. implying that contentment is not a natural thing. It is the opposite.
- We witness a friend buy a new car, and we immediately think about how inadequate our vehicle is. We need to buy a new one.
- We see pictures posted by our friends of their amazing vacations that they have been saving up for, and we are jealous and we begin to ask why that can’t be us.
- We go to a friends house for dinner and notice that their dinnerware is nicer than what we own. We now hate what we own.
- We look around our living room and we notice that one piece of furniture that has a small hole in it, or a stain from a child and all we can do is think about how great this room would look if it wasn’t for that piece of furniture.
- We hear our friends talking about how much fun they had at a church event down the street, and we begin questioning why “our church” never does anything fun like that.
We could go on and on about the natural response to many different situations that we encounter, but I believe you get the point. My challenge to myself and to you this week is that when these thoughts (and others that are similar) creep into our minds, close the door on them. Do not allow these thoughts (Satan) to have a foothold in your life. James 3:16 tells us that where selfishness exists, so does every evil thing. Think about it, can you name one sin that does not come from selfishness? When we allow ourselves to be discontent with the lives we have we are giving Satan a foothold in our heart, and opening ourselves up for disaster.
Paul reminds us how he was able to learn contentment. Jesus. We love to quote Phil 4:13- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It is powerful to keep this in its proper context. Paul was able to maintain his contentment because of Jesus. Focus on your savior today, not your struggles.