Contentment is something we all struggle with. Contentment is an attitude that says, ‘I will be satisfied with what God has given me.’
Remember the old RTA advertisement about drink driving?
Sometimes in life, we need to look around us and appreciate where we are, the support we do have and the things we own. But most of all, we need to remember the blessing of a future hope.
There is a story of a Mr. Prentergast, who was drinking late one night and made an impromptu decision to rob and burn down a house. It was only later that he discovered that it was his own house he had burgled and set alight.
He later commented, “I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions!” Sometimes we need to gain our perspective back and realise how many possessions and blessings we have. Let’s reset and stop today and think about all the things God has done.
We are told to stop and think and ‘do this is remembrance of him’. Psa 103 talks about the things we can be grateful to God for:
As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us. V12
Back then, they believed that the earth was flat. So this is a picture of God pushing our sins so far to the west and so far to the east that it falls off the end of the earth. What else does he do for us?
Lam 3:22-23 The LORD's loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end. They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant!
Every new morning, we can be confident that God forgives us all over again because of his kind compassion.
Psa 103:3 He is the one who forgives all your sins, who heals all your diseases.
This is a tricky verse! Does god always heal our diseases? No. It is broader healing, v4 goes on to talk about deliverance from death.
Isa 53:4 But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done.
It is Jesus removes our illness ultimately. What is God, God is love. and there is an amazing viral video of this concept here. Mercy is NOT getting as our sins deserve. Grace is receiving what we DON’T deserve.
So this is all good head knowledge, but how can we literally become more content?
1. Become grateful.
Focus on the good things in your life, not on the things you don’t have. Write a literal list of all the good things in your life. This exercise will shift your focus back to contentement.
2. Take control of your attitude.
We are all guilty of thinking ‘when I get ____ then I will be happy!” Your happiness is not based on what you have, it is based on a decision to be happy.
3. Don’t satisfy discontentment with acquisitions.
As a major shopaholic, I am the most guilty of this. Feeling down? Go buy a new dress. Not happy with your hair? Get a haircut. Etc etc. We have gotten into the habit of satisfying our discontent by spending more money. We need to break this habit and understand that material posessions never satisfy the desires of your heart. Understand, accept and try to deal with the root cause of your discontentment.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Social media makes this particularly hard in this day and age. We are constantly exposed to the best filter of people’s lives. People who appear to be better off, who appear to have a better life. Don’t compare the worst of ourselves with someone else’s highlight real. You are great, just as you are!
Focus on someone else. Give money, time, your talents to help someone else out. Book a trip overseas to go on mission work or sponsor a child here.
Matt 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.