Keith and I were financially challenged in our first years of marriage. I saw the possessions of others and craved them. After a few years, we were able to afford a few things, and we began to buy beautiful things that sat in our house and collected dust.
Possessions are great … until we begin to crave them more than the things of the Kingdom of God. Have you found yourself craving the things of the world? The secret to contentment in a world that craves more is found in the Christian walk.
Surprised By Contentment
Questions raced through my mind.
“When will we find a home to rent? Will we make friends? Will our daughter like her new school? Will my husband succeed in his new position? Can we afford this?”
Six thousand miles away from home.
A new language and culture.
A temporary apartment above a busy pizzeria in northern Italy.
“God, what’s this adventure about?”
A gift shop next to the pizzeria intrigued us. Every day, we peered into the windows. Figurines, ceramics, Murano glass from Venice, pitchers in the shape of roosters, and much more beckoned to us.
“When will you open your shop?”
The owner sighed and shrugged his shoulders. If he opened the shop, he’d need to bargain with vendors, continue to restock the shop, pay the bills, and hire employees.
“I only have one daughter.”
End of conversation.
He was busy enough. He owned the pizzeria and the apartment we were staying in.
Every day, I walked past the closed doors and remembered, “I only have one daughter.”
The doors never reopened.
Decades later, that phrase still rings in my ears … and my heart.
God used Mario to show us contentment.
We were focused on achieving more success, more friends, more money, and more of what the world valued.
We craved “more.”
How can we be content in a world that craves more?
What Is Contentment?
In the whirlwind of wanting more, we can know that God strengthens us.
“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13, HCSB
Many of us develop checklists to help us succeed in the world’s eyes. One by one, we work on our plans.
But we’re not satisfied.
Paul knew the secret of being content. He was totally surrendered. Paul did all things through Jesus. Even when Paul was in need, Jesus strengthened him.
Throughout the Bible, we read promises of God’s strength for His people.
- God gives strength to the weary and powerless, Isaiah 40:29.
- God is with us and holds us by His righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.
- God strengthens our faith, Romans 4:20.
- God strengthens us to be blameless, 1 Corinthians 1:8.
- God strengthens us with power, Ephesians 3:16
- God strengthens and guards us from the evil one, 2 Thessalonians 3:3.
These are just a few examples of God’s promises to strengthen us.
The secret of contentment is doing all things through Jesus.Tweet
Three Steps to Contentment
Take a moment to ask God to help you remember how He has worked in your life. Make a list of those moments.
Thank God for strengthening you.
When you are feeling weak, remember that you are able to do all things through Jesus who strengthens you.
God adorns us with His beauty.Tweet
“And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith?” Matthew 6:28-30, HCSB
Dress for success. Dress for your next job. We’re focused on how we look.
Even with makeup, shiny hair, white teeth, new outfits, and shoes, we are unable to make ourselves as beautiful as wildflowers or a sunset. But we try.
“Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes.Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.”
1 Peter 3:3-4, HCSB
How is your spirit? Is it gentle and quiet? This type of spirit lasts forever.
Look through your closet. How would Jesus describe the beauty in your closet?
Examine your heart. How would Jesus describe the beauty in your heart?
Contentment lies in trusting God to adorn us with His eternal beauty.Tweet
Rely upon God to provide for us. God is our provider.
“And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.” Genesis 22:14, HCSB
God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. For three days, they traveled to the mountain God showed them.
Abraham raised his knife to sacrifice Isaac, and an Angel of the Lord stopped him. Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket, and he sacrificed the ram. Genesis 22.
God provided the sacrifice that pointed to Jesus.
God gave Adam and Eve work to do. They were commissioned to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Their work consisted of caring for the creatures and plants, Genesis 1:28-30. God provided the earth, the creatures, and the plants for Adam and Eve.
We work hard to provide for our families and for ourselves. God prepared work for us to accomplish, Ephesians 2:10. God prepared the work for us.
It is God who provides the opportunity and ability to accomplish the work.
We can be content that God provides for us.
- God provided water to the Israelites in the wilderness, Exodus 15:22, Nehemiah 9:15.
- God provided manna and quail to the Israelites in the wilderness, Exodus 16:1.
- God provided enough oil for the widow and her two sons, 2 Kings 4.
- God provided redemption for His people, Luke 1:68.
- God richly provides us with all things to enjoy, 1 Timothy 6:17.
These are just a few examples of God’s provision.
How has God provided for you?
Write God a “thank you” note.
Rest in Jesus.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28, HCSB
Many times, our helter-skelter lifestyles lead to frustration and anxiety.
Exhausted, we plop into an easy chair and ask ourselves, “Of all that I did today, what will matter a year from now?”
Do you long for rest? A rest that refreshes?
Jesus promises us a rest that quiets our hearts, refreshes us as we delight in His care, and gives us a patient expectation of the blessings to come.Tweet
When we leave our worries behind and follow Jesus, we rest from our own works and live in His rest, Hebrews 4:10.
How is your rest?
Jesus asks us to come to Him, take up His yoke and learn from Him. His promise: we will receive rest, Matthew 11:29.
Paul rested in contentment whether he was abundantly provided for or whether he was in need. Paul was satisfied even though he was in prison.
The secret to Paul’s contentment was through Jesus.Tweet
When you are exhausted and anxious, stop and remember Jesus strengthens us, God adorns us with beauty.
Remember Jesus is our rest.
Our loving Father, we remember how You have worked mightily in our lives, and we trust that You will continue to work in our lives. You are our Provider who has provided abundantly for us. Thank You for sending Jesus into the world to give us life with You forever. We rest in Jesus and what He has done for us. Lord, You are all we need, for You have given Your children every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies. May we use all that You have given us to honor Your name above all. Amen.