// Lynette Hagin
ONE SUBJECT we don't hear taught very often, but desperately need to hear about, is the subject of contentment. In the day and age in which we live, discontentment seems to be prevalent not only in the world, but also in Christian circles. We know the reason non-Christians are discontented: true joy, peace, and contentment are only found in Christ. But more and more Christians are living in discontentment.
When we face various trials—or bumps—in life, there is a temptation to lose our joy. Circumstances often threaten to steal our contentment. But we can learn to be content, no matter what is going on around us or where we are along God's path for our life.
One person who knew the secret of contentment was the Apostle Paul. In writing to the Philippians, he shared this secret even while he was enduring imprisonment, chains, and bonds. Although he was facing adverse circumstances, he said, "I have learned to be content in whatever state I'm in" (Phil. 4:11). Paul knew the secret of living a satisfied life. He was contented, because he was committed. A good equation to remember is this: Commitment plus contentment equals joy.
Discontentment will cause us to lose our evidence that we are Christians. Many Christians have lost their joy and are no longer an example to the world. Non-Christians are already discontent. Why would they want to become a Christian if all they see are discontented Christians? How can we expect to win others to Christ?
How it must grieve God to see His people so discontented in life, especially when He sent Jesus to give us abundant life (John 10:10). Discontentment is like a weed; you don't have to do anything for it to grow. If you allow it to be planted in your heart, it will grow on its own.
It takes effort and practice to be content. It's only achieved through continual application and sustained effort. You might say, "But you don't know what my circumstances are. If you were in my shoes, you wouldn't be content either."
Everyone has some issue in his life that could give him or her reason to become discontented. None of our lives are free from problems. It's how we approach the problems that counts. Whether we approach them negatively or positively will determine if we are contented or discontented.
The first thing we must do to be contented is to be committed. We are to be committed to Jesus. The Bible makes it clear that our devotion to God ought to be first and foremost.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
You will never be completely happy and know true contentment until you have committed your entire self to God. Commitment isn't easy, but it's rewarding. When you make the commitment, contentment follows.
We need to be so committed that regardless of the circumstances, we will still serve God. Too many people have the attitude, "God if You bless me, I'll serve You." Or, "God, prosper me, and I'll witness for You." But that's not the way it goes.
It's not wrong to ask God for things, but too often we're so intent on what the Lord can do for us, that we forget about what we can do for Him. We must remember to ask God, "What can I do for You?" Someone who always thinks of himself and what he can get will never be content. We must give of ourselves to be contented. It is truly more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
The Secret of Contentment: Enjoy Today
Have you ever heard the phrase, "Tomorrow never comes"? In other words, each day you live is always "today." Don't become so wrapped up in the future that you miss out on today. It's fine to have aspirations and ambitions. But learn to be content with what you have right now. Give today your best, and give the rest to God.
So many people are discontented in their job. They're not enjoying the job they have right now, because they're thinking about the possible promotion they might get in the future. Others can't enjoy their home right now because they're thinking of the better home they want in the future.
I'll never forget our first home. It wasn't a very large house. It was old and the windows were rotting out. When the cold north wind blew, it was easy to become discontented. There were many times we had every burner on the stove turned on. Without central heat, that was the only way we could warm the house. But I was always content there. Some of our friends moved into better homes before we did, but I never once got jealous.
Many times we will miss what the Lord has in store for us by becoming jealous of someone else's success. Jealousy is a sure way to hinder our blessing. When you are content with your present state and stay committed to do what you're supposed to do at the moment, God will surely reward you.
The secret to being content regardless of your situation is to know that God will take care of you. We often become discontented because our daily tasks sometimes seem mundane and unimportant. But we must remember that God has not forgotten us. When we stay faithful to follow God's leading in the "here and now," He will see to it that our future needs are met and our dreams fulfilled.
Are you discontented because you don't want to do what God has called you to do at this time? Do the dreams in your heart tug at your mind and cause you to become discontented in your present situation? It's only as you become content with what God has planned for you at this time that promotion will come.
God is the One Who is more than enough. He is the All-Sufficient God, and He will do all that He has promised to do. Learn to commit to Him. Learn to be content in Him. And He will give you joy unspeakable every day of your life.