The Discipline of Contentment
The sin of discontent runs rampant in the lives of women today. The world is constantly telling us that we need to be improved. We need to be more, do more, and have more. We should not be satisfied with our current status. Discontent is a gangrene that can infect and grow; turning what should be beautiful into something repulsive and rank… if we let it.
We resume our journey through the book, Disciplines of a Godly Woman, by Barbara Hughes. Today we are examining the discipline of contentment (chapter 7).
To find evidence of discontent in the history of the world, we have only to look at the very first woman. Eve in the Garden of Eden had everything that was wonderful, good and easy. Her surroundings were literally heaven-like. The earth produced her food, she dwelled with the animals in peace, she was naked and not ashamed, and she even had the perfect husband. Above all of this she communed with God himself! The perfect life…
…until Eve heeded a contrary voice that questioned God’s words to her.
Satan dangled before her the idea that maybe God was depriving her of something good. The infestation took root and the gangrene of discontent was planted. We women have all inherited Eve’s sin of discontentedness. We are unhappy with what God has sovereignly and graciously given to us for our good.
Is God depriving us of something good? Is there more out there for us? A better house, husband, or children, more money, a better job, or to be beautiful, healthy, smarter, athletic, or musical. Are we being slighted?
When we think this way, we are saying that God’s providence is not enough for us. We know what we really need. God’s way is lacking. Are you seeing how this is a dangerous sin? God warns us against this “lifestyle of craving” in 1Timothy 6:6-19. In v. 10 Paul tells us that some who give in to these worldly desires “have wandered away from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pangs.” What we think we “need” actually will hurt us when outside of God’s will.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
This verse shows that contentedness is a command. And why are we to be content? Because God will never leave us nor forsake us! We have God, therefore we have everything. Not a penny more is needed. Ever. More good news is found in Philippians 4:11-13:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Paul tells us that contentedness is learned. We can acquire the invaluable, godly skill of contentedness. Paul also shares the secret to being content: being satisfied with your situation does not depend on the situation. It depends on the “him” in verse 13.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me” does not mean that we can run a marathon, survive cancer, or divorce our husbands and be okay. It means we honor God by using the skills he gives us whether in running or sewing. It means we use our cancer diagnosis to glorify his name whether we are healed or die a slow and painful death. It means we will be thankful for the mate he has provided for us and will use our union to display his grace. The “him” in Philippians 4:13 is Jesus Christ. We can be content in anything when we have Jesus as our Savior and strength.
Ladies, do not measure your life by your circumstances. Learn to be content in Christ. Turn your desires upon him and away from the world, longing not for more of the temporal but for his everlasting righteousness and presence. Submit to God’s plan for your life and be satisfied in him.
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