Content in the Midst of Desire

I’ll be content when _____________ .  All of us can probably relate to a time when we’ve said words like that.  I’ll be content when my income reaches a certain level, or my bank accounts are a predetermined amount, or when I have that house or car or relationship . . .  The list goes on and on.

In my years working in public accounting, I had quite a few clients that were multi-millionaires.  They had interest and dividend income in excess of what most people in America live on each year. However, in the midst of all of their wealth, I don’t recall them being truly content with what they had.  Happy? Mostly. Secure? For some. Satisfied? Not many. Content? Rarely.

Security

I used to think that we all were chasing after security as we jockeyed for more.  When I was 12 years old, I started working with a paper route. I continued to pursue security through hard work and diligence.  It was like chasing after the wind as the more that I gained, the more I had to protect and maintain.

Our security cannot be found in the size of our bank accounts, retirement funds, portfolios or any other tangible source.  The only source of true security is found in the Lord God Almighty, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Salvation of our eternal spirit through Jesus Christ is the first step to being secure.  A complete surrender of our life to the Lord is the only place where we will have complete security.

Yet, contentment is far more than security, especially physical or financial security.  I have wrestled and struggled through what is true security and I believe that I have settled my security questions in the Lord.  But am I content with where we are in life? 

Satisfaction

When I was younger, I learned a philosophy that to not be satisfied was a good thing as it meant that I would work harder and strive to accomplish more.  It was the hunger that motivated me to achieve greater things and place my satisfaction in what I had done.

There are so many ministers in need of help, how do we help them all?  I have a burden to see the Church be healthy; am I doing all I need to do to assist the Body?  If I see a hundred lives changed by the power of Christ, is that enough? How can I be satisfied when there is so much more to be done?

I’ve come to learn that the lack of satisfaction is really a poison in my life.  It steals my joy, produces discontentment, and separates me from my Heavenly Father.  I am coming to terms with the ability to be satisfied in doing my best at what the Lord has asked of me to do and that being enough.  

Contentment

Maybe you’ve come to a place of contentment in your finances and possessions.  But what about all the other areas of our lives? How do we balance our desire to be comfortable, to do the best we can at our job, or impact God’s Kingdom, or anything else with being content?

Gary Thomas in his book Authentic Faith says that contentment “is satisfaction, peace, assurance, and a sense of well-being, cultivated by pursuing the right things.”  We can only find contentment when we rightly view the things of this world in the grace and peace of our Heavenly Father.  

I have to admit that I’ve not reached the point where I can truly say with the Apostle Paul, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Philippians 4:11b-12). 

I’m on a journey with the Lord.  There have been many things I’ve learned and a number that I’ve had to unlearn.  So much has been left behind. I know that there is much more in front of me. Will you join me on the journey to learn and practice the discipline of contentment?

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