Contentment is something that is learned. It is not something that we just are given, or comes natural. In Phillipians 4:11 Paul states “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” If Paul had to learn it, we have to learn it. The problems in our life are not the problems. We may think we will be happy when we are married, no longer single. That having a baby will fix our marriage. But with these “fixes to our problems” only come more problems. The meshing of two hearts creates conflict. Sleepless nights with the baby will only add to your marriage problems. If we aren’t content with what we have, we won’t ever be content with what we get. We have to learn to be content with our life the way it is.
Contentment is hard work. It will not come over night. It will not always stay. It is something that has to be nurtured every single day. It has to be cared for and tended too. We cannot seek it out this week and expect it to stay around. We will have to work for it our entire life.
Charles Spurgeon said this about contentment:
“These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. ‘Ill weeds grow apace.’ Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to the earth: and so we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be a garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.”
It seems to be a pattern of life that great things come to those who work hard and are patient. We can’t expect to do nothing and get everything. The easy way isn’t always the best way. Contentment takes hard work and a lot of patience. But the reward is so much better than taking the easy way and never fully reaching the peace that contentment brings.
Homework for the Heart:
1. Pray for the Spirit’s help to discern what you should be doing with your life. To lead and direct you each day. Pray for God to teach you to be content.
2. Find the positives in your situation and dwell on them and thank God for them.
3. Be patient and trust God’s plan for your life. It is so easy to slip into the thoughts that our plans are best. When our plans fall through we can get frustrated with God. We need to trust that his ways are so much better than ours. Be comforted, he only wants what is truly best for you.