Being content is an attitude. Attitude is a choice.
So, what is the balance between being content now and being responsible for the future?
Let’s face it, our lives have always been filled with looking forward to the next step. From a young age, we long for that which we do not yet have. Children want to be teens. Teens hunger for the taste of independence when they will drive. Senior classmen eagerly look to the freedom they will experience away from house rules.
Even at work, every job title can be easily viewed as that stepping stone toward the next gig. We are constantly looking forward.
In our being content, there’s nothing wrong with planning for the future. Goals motivate us forward. Aspirations inspire us to grow. Dreams lift our eyes up and forward to a fresh, new, and improved future.
The issue occurs for me when I mistakenly begin to place my hope in the goals and the things that I desire to hold in my hands. When I rely on the those to become the means to happiness, my vision and focus blurs. My appetite for something better, something more, something bigger, and anything that I believe I deserve grows.
Unmet desires bring frustration. I grow anxious, restless, and disappointed. I become angry.
So, how is being content possible?
Within Larry Burkett’s Biblical Principles Under Scrutiny, he writes, “…contentment is not something that must be searched for and found. It is an attitude of the heart. Once the attitude has been modified and all has been transferred to God, contentment will be evident.”1
A thoughtful perspective from Jonathan Edwards, “The enjoyment of God is our proper aim; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To fully enjoy God is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
Enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.
Being content is possible when all has been transferred to God.
Then simply put, being content is not achieved by the work of achieving, collecting and holding the desired possessions in our hands. Contentment is about knowing Jesus. Being content is achieved when I choose to place my hope, my all in Him. To trust Him in every circumstance, I can learn to be content because He is everything in the now and the not yet.
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.”
“Solid Rock”, Words: Edward Mote (circa 1834); Music: Williams B. Bradbury, 1863
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Philippians 4:11
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8
“We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” Charles R. Swindoll
Being content, we must choose wisely.
1 Larry Burkett’s Biblical Principles Under Scrutiny article entitled “Being Content,” published by Christian Financial Concepts, 1985. Courtesy Crown Financial Ministries, Copyright © 2007. Used with permission. All rights reserved.