As our mother, Eve, is the Mother of Discontentment, we women, I believe, have more of an aptitude for being discontent. Typically, we are more relational, personal, and insecure. These tendencies push us more toward the realm of discontentment as opposed to men. Because of this, we fret over the little things and wring our hands about the big things.
We women are constantly after our husbands to make more money. We are after our kids for not making the grade. We are after our neighbor’s possessions. We are after control and cannot attain.
In my own life, my dear and wonderful husband noticed I was flirting with the pit of despair. He asked me what was going on, and, clueless on the surface as I was, I didn’t know! He asked some probing questions and helped me get to the bottom of my problem.
My problem deep down was discontentment. I was not trusting in our Sovereign Lord. After a period of confession and repentance, the Lord lifted me out of the pit and set me on Solid Ground.
In our library, I found a book by a man who has been dead for over 400 years. The title is somewhat striking, The Art of Divine Contentment, by Thomas Watson. Pulling it off the shelf, I began to peruse and my life has been changed. This book tackles an area where no human can escape. Discontentment is a plague of sin. Watson states, “Discontentment is to the soul as a disease is to the body…” Out of unbelief sprouts discontentment.
This particular sin of discontentment makes the list of ‘respectable sins’ Jerry Bridges lays out. In his book, Respectable Sins, Bridges mentions some examples of circumstances that could be out of our control that feeds the sprouts of discontentment with MiracleGro! These examples are: low-paying jobs, singleness, infertility, unhappy marriages, physical disabilities, and poor health. Even though circumstances in our lives can feed the sin, we must strive all the more to combat these battles.
While faithful Christians will go to church and hear, it is just as important for them to go and do. To put their faith into practice. Watson, who was a preacher, taught his congregation one Sunday about this very subject. Due to the common burden of discontentment amongst the members and to their bidding, he wrote this book to further expound what the Bible teaches and practical ways to help and uplift the body of Christ.
“If there is a blessed life before we come to heaven, it is the contented life.” -Thomas Watson
In chapter 14 of his book, Watson encourages his Christian readers that contentment is indeed feasible! Have you ever been low and just the slightest bit of encouragement will lift your spirit to keep pressing on? Let this be a little bit of encouragement. Every Christian is capable of being content. While this list is not Watson’s exhaustive list, here are a few highlights.
1. Our unbelief that the Lord is sovereign and in control of our lives throws us into the waves of discontentment. Believe in God and in His promises.
2. A person full of pride is never content. The humble spirit is content, for, a humble person knows their reliance on the Lord.
3. Don’t wrap your life up with materialism. Being obsessed with the latest and greatest is a recipe for a person to become easily dissatisfied.
4. Keep eternity ever present in the mind. To be narrow-minded in our outlook on life is like a horse without blinders. We are easily distracted by this world instead of looking forward to the world to come. Christ will return for His people. We have been given a mission and to be too earthly minded will distract us from being heavenly minded.
5. Pray, Pray, Pray. James 5:13 says, “Is any man afflicted? Let him pray.” Watson helps us out, “Is any man discontented? Let him pray.” Our good Father wants us to come to Him. He wants us to cast our cares on Him, for His burden is light.
As the odds are stacked, you probably struggle with discontentment. As Melissa Kruger (the author of The Envy of Eve) has shared, many times, contentment has nothing to do with our outward circumstances, but rather our own hearts.
Biblical contentment leads us to obedience
So, take some time to personally reflect. Take the shovel to the recesses of your soul and dig around. And, for once, you can take this verse in context and to heart, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil. 4:13. Believe God. Trust Him. The content Christian is always a winner and never a loser.
For Further Discussion:
Tim Challies on: 8 Things Contentment Opposes
Melissa Kruger on: Finding Contentment
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