We’ve called the same general area “home” for more than 20 years, but during that time we’ve lived in 4 different houses. Why have we moved this much? Looking back, I realize that although I believed I had good reasons at the time, maybe it would have been best to be content where I was.
My desire to look for the “next best thing” surfaced again recently because a family member was house hunting near us. As I was “helping” him look for a home online, I couldn’t resist looking at other homes too. I told myself I was only looking “for fun”, but it didn’t take long for me to get caught up in thinking how much more I liked some of the other houses than my current residence.
Reasons for Discontent
Sometimes there are valid reasons to make changes in our lives. As Christians, sometimes the Holy Spirit stirs something within us to relocate or change jobs or career paths. Upgrading to a better lifestyle isn’t bad in and of itself, but motives are important. It’s best to seek God’s wisdom in making these decisions.
Other times, though, we begin to feel that there’s something better “out there”. Many of us will wrestle with that thought at points in our lives. These days they call it FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. It’s a real thing. Many of us are blessed beyond measure but we still spend time wanting more.
Let’s think about Eve. She had everything she could want. The best (only) man around. A beautiful place to live. She even had conversations with God Himself. But she wanted the one thing God told her she wasn’t to have – the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The serpent lured her into following her own desire for what she didn’t have. As a result, Adam and Eve had to pay the consequences for not being content with all God had given them. But have you ever noticed that God relented from passing the harsh sentence of death that He told them would happen if they ate from the tree? God also made clothes for them before banishing the two from Eden. In His grace, He allowed them to live and be protected.
Our Heavenly Father is so good. When we follow our desires into disobedience as Adam and Eve did, God is displeased, and although He must be just, He continues to protect and care for us.
The apostle Paul had a life full of triumphs and trials, abundance and scarcity, popularity and persecution. From prison, Paul speaks to his own contentment in chapter 4 of Philippians.
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.Philippians 4:11-13
Paul set the example of what our attitude should be. This is such a great example, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. How about you? How can we learn to be content? The answer is Christ. Knowing and wanting to be more like Jesus gives us strength to be content in this life, regardless of our circumstances.
So the next time we experience discontentment in our current situation, let’s stop and ask God to give us strength to remember how God has blessed, protected, and cared for us. And know that He always will.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. Psalm 73:23