In the world today there is so much comparing one against another, even amongst families and between Christians. So much of this is going on that people are caught in the web of discontentment. Many Christians are not happy or grateful to God for what they have received of him. They are not content, or are content briefly. The scripture says, what do you have that you did not receive? So when you are not content, you are actually not content with he who gave you all that you have; you find yourself reacting negatively towards others, like your wife, husband, children, and others because you are not able to directly do the same to God. Lack of contentment is a destroyer. Learn to be faithful with and to what you have received of the Lord.
There are things that people are concerned about and they can be divided into two broad categories:
- Physical/natural/carnal: These include people worried about their age, wishing they were created at a different time or nationality, others about their height or weight or both, some think others are smarter than themselves or their children, some complain about the shape of their teeth, eyes, nose, legs, fingers, toes, hair, lips and much more. Some think others are rich and they are poor, some even think people are richer than they are and it should not be so. Yet some complain about their jobs, positions, their home and their food. One thing people forget is that there could be somebody worse than themselves. You see a man looking to spend some thousands of dollars to shape their eye brose, but on the other side you see a lady who has no eyes since birth but grateful to be alive. By the street corner stood a teenager who hated his shoes, the way they looked on his feet. On the school across the street is another teenager crippled trying to get on the bus with the help of other students and he was full of smiles without useable legs. This is life and God created them all. Are you content the way you are or did God make a mistake? You are the judge of your thoughts, speeches and actions if you are spirit lead.
- Spiritual categories are the other and can be very subtle and destructive, because it is a tool that has worked several times and the Serpent is the master. He was able to convince a third of the angels in heaven not to be content with what God had given them in heaven, Revelations 12:4-9. The Devil as Lucifer was not content as an archangel but wanted to be God, the most High, Isaiah 14: 12-15. When he arrived the Garden of Eden he taught Eve how not to be content, Genesis 3:4-5 “and ye shall be as gods.” Whenever you start experiencing discontentment be sure where such is coming from. In the life of Cain dealing with Abel his brother you find discontentment that eventually led to the death of Abel, Genesis 4:1-9.
Spiritually also you can see in the life of the Israelites in Egypt and in the wilderness different levels of discontentment. In Exodus 16:1-13 you can see how discontentment can be like and what people do. In Exodus 17:1-17 you can see another discontentment. When God delays in the thinking of men, they get discontent and kick against God and his word; this happens unto this day. Sometimes they inquire from other gods. Two main aspects come to mind, in Exodus 32:1-6, where the children of Israel became discontented both with God and Moses after waiting for him when he went up to visit with God on Mount Sinai. Now remember, that in all God was still feeding them with food and water while Moses was away. They said to Aaron in verse 2, “make us gods that will go before us.” Most often when people are discontent with God they can do many unfortunate things. Some become their own god, others sort out who to blame, others seek power from any source to fulfill their assumed needs and worst of all some make their own golden calves. Let me make it clear, today the worst god image, is that of SELF. When you put the WORD of God aside with discontentment and do what you want you make yourself your god.
Saul the king in discontentment worked contrary to God on two clear instances;
- 1st Samuel 13:8-14, Saul could not wait on the Lord and the prophet because of delay and discontent.
- 1st Samuel 28:7-25, you see how an anointed man of God can descend into witchcraft consultancy when disobedience and discontentment set into a person’s life.
- Numbers 16:1-50, tells about discontentment and its consequences. Be careful when you get involved in spiritual discontentment. Discontentment and covetousness are relatives, stayed away from them.
Lack of contentment can be divided into (a) self created discontentment and (b) Satan-injected lack of contentment. If one stays with the self created one long enough it becomes Satan directed and injected. They all point an accusing finger at the Lord. When you see a person blessed with a promotion and you are not happy or hypocritically happy for them and think you deserve it, or question why you who were not the one who got the promotion; all these are self created and the devil had not stepped in. Now when the devil sees you are getting consumed with the issue he then takes advantage of your discontentment and creates new projects for you that may include murder. These projects include jealousy, malice, hatred, bitterness and even hatching a plan to harm or cause death to the other person. One thing is forgotten here and that is, Psalms 75:6 “PROMOTION COMETH NEITHER FROM THE EAST, NOR FROM THE WEST NOR FROM THE SOUTH BUT FROM THE LORD.” So you can see how one can be against God. Have you gone this path lately?
There are parents who are bitter towards others because their children were more successful than their own, even among Christians. Remember James 5:9, “Grudge not one against another.” Have you felt like changing your car, clothes, house, furniture etc and consumed by it, even losing sleep over it? Be careful this may lead to self discontentment and if not in check the devil will take over. Once I had about a man who was managing with a friend in a one bedroom apartment, he could not afford to rent on his own because he wanted to own a BMW and give people the impression he was well to do whereas he was an airport attendant in another community. People live such lies because they are not content. Where there is no contentment deception is always close by.
Once on a university campus a sister that was so gentle and blessed with a good singing voice became a stumbling block to those not blessed as much. Gossips, jealousy, backbiting, malice became the order of the day among some of those who thought they were equally good. Where there are negative things, for sure there is no contentment. God gave this sister the gift and the voice why can people not give God the glory instead of discontentment. Sad as it may be, parents pass this attitude to their unsuspecting children; who may turn out to be worse than their parents in this attitude towards God, who is the giver of all gifts.
St. Paul said, “I have learned to be content in whatever state I find myself,” Philippians 4:11-13. Contentment has to be learned. Learn how to be abased, abound, full, hungry and suffer need. All these will teach you contentment if you know the source of all things.
Please help me understand the difference in value between on dollar in paper note, in silver dollar, in quarters, in dimes, in nickels and in pennies. I tell you there is no difference in value; so why will a person worry if they are paid in any of the denominations, they all amount to the same value and will buy the same product. God has given each of us gifts and blessings, be content with the denomination that you receive your blessing and be happy for others. I have seen both physically and mentally challenged people who look and act happier than those who are whole. They are content the way they are and do not go about finding fault with God. There are many disabled veterans who inspire those that are whole and are content and even grateful to be alive. If you are not content, then imagine those who have serious disabilities and yet remain cheerful and content. I have come across a preacher born with Down syndrome and speech disability, yet a preacher of the gospel of Christ. While he was preaching one time, he said, people may see me with disability but I do not see myself as such. I see myself the way God made me and I will not change anything from the way I am; when I get to heaven it will all be different. This is contentment and confidence and no one can deny it.
Finally, I wish you take a journey with me to a Christian fellowship center where people came for help, concerning different problems if you can call it that. Two of the individuals come to mind, one was very unsatisfied with his pay at work and the other was doing everything to take a vacation overseas like his neighbor but could not readily afford it and was very distressed. They all attended the same Christian center, but were not close friends. The pastor asked those who needed prayer to list them on a sheet of paper concealed. He then exchanged the prayer requests, and when the different individuals saw the prayer request of others, they asked to have their personal prayer requests back. The reason for this will surprise you. The person who wanted to go on vacation overseas because his neighbor was often travelling read that his neighbor was travelling around because he was terminally ill and had little time to live. The person who was distressed was no longer willing to travel overseas and wanted to be disease free. In life we must learn to be content, those who compare themselves to themselves are not wise. Learn to be content always.
Mary the mother of Our Lord was content with what the angel told her about the future. All the apostles and prophets showed how to be content. Every apostle and prophet had every chance to be millionaires like the preachers of today but Paul put it well on behalf of all when he said in Philippians 3:7-14 “for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” This is a man who represented a group of believers who learned contentment. Daniel (Daniel 6:10-28) knew how to be content trusting the Lord, praying in his usual manner even at the threat of the lions’ den. Every Christian must learn to be content with the Lord. In Daniel 3:8-30 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced the test of contentment; they were content with God even in the face of death. Contentment is total dependence upon God’s plan in your life. Finally, you do well to remember Job and his level of contentment with himself and the Lord. Job 13:15-16, “though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Learn to be content at all times, no matter the circumstance. The life of a man does not consist in abundance of what he has and gain is not godliness. Trust ye in the mercies of the Lord.
by Douglas E. Amobi