What do you think about when there is absolutely nothing you must be thinking on, when your mind begins to wander? Would it be a running to do list, your next form of entertainment, your physical appearance? Who or what becomes your focus? The opposite of contentment is covetousness. Covetousness is the desire to want what one does not have. Our culture encourages us to covet and consume in ways that are completely contrary to biblical teaching. In contrast, our inward contentment should be outwardly apparent. It can be difficult to be content.
When we do not have right thinking, our wandering mind often rests on life’s troubles and many times we can begin to believe our problems are too big and our God is too small. When we systematically study the attributes of God by way of the Scriptures, we are able to better understand our right relation to an almighty, all holy God. His thoughts are higher than ours and it’s only when we rest in Him, we can find right thinking. Christians can recognize how the cultivation of contentment is fundamentally rooted in understanding and resting in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In Him, we find ultimate contentment.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 55:8–9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Contentment itself is not a new longing for Christians. The problem of discontentment is as old as humanity, and the solution is an ancient one – In the garden, Eve went from complete contentment to sheer discontentment. Contentment has been desired throughout history. Evidence is time and again that the Bible encourages believers to take heart through their circumstances and find contentment in the Lord. Contentment cannot be found in any “thing” no matter how good. True contentment is not contingent on outward circumstances but upon the inward assurance of God’s sovereignty. Once inward, contentment works outward so we might be people who exude hope.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ga 5:22–26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 4:21–22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
To covet is to focus on one’s circumstances, and primarily on what one does not have. Is Jesus your source of contentment? How have you responded in the past to the hardships in your life? Why does it matter that we be people who exude hope? Consider reading Psalm Chapter One for further study.