Discontentment occurs when what I want and how it is are different. When there is gap between how things really are in my life and how I want them to be, discontentment often thrives. Let’s get to part of the solution to discontentment. Let’s talk about THE key ingredient that makes contentment come alive: faith.
Maybe your discontentment is over your financial situation. You wish things were different for you financially. And this wish for something different has created a deep sense of discontentment in your life. Well, discontentment ALWAYS reveals something about what you believe about God. In this case, your discontentment over your financial situation is a way of saying, “God has dropped the ball in providing for me what is good.” Or “God hasn’t gotten my life right.” At the root of these statements is unbelief.
Faith, trusting God’s ordering of your life, possesses the inherent power to silence our doubts and scatter our fears. When I believe my life is the way it is because a loving God is behind it, that is faith. And faith creates composure. Faith creates rest for the soul. Faith quiets the mind and stills the heart.
A restless soul is a faithless soul. A restful soul is a faith-filled soul.
So far we’ve discovered contentment doesn’t come naturally, but is something that is learned. We have to work at it. We’ve also thought about the relationship between discontentment and pride. Whenever there is discontentment, there is an underlying belief that my station in life should be different than what God has ordained for me. In other words, “I know better than God.” Today, we’ll look at a passage of Scripture that pushes this thought a bit farther.
“…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps. 34:10).
Read that verse again and think about the contentment/discontentment relationship. Discontentment, by definition, declares some “good thing” is lacking. Do you see how that grates against the promise of this verse?
Thomas Watson says it superbly, “If the thing we desire is good for us, we shall have it. If it is not good then not having it is good for us.”
Our discontentment may be driven by numerous “good things” we think are missing. But in God’s providential ordering of your life, he may have deemed NOT having those things as good. Pride would say, "God is wrong to withhold those from me." Humility says, "I may not understand it, but I'll trust God and submit to it."
So now, the conversation shifts to an issue of trust. Can I trust the good things I have are truly good for me? Equally, can I trust not having some things are also good for me? This is the foundation of contentment.
There’s always a reason for our discontentment. Some situation we wish were different. But peel away the layers and what do you find? Lesson two: a discontented person is a proud person. How so?
If you believe in a sovereign and providential God who sanctions even the minutest events (Matt. 10:29), then your situation is precisely the way it is because God has determined that it should be that way. Discontentment is a slight handed way of finding fault with God’s wisdom. Who would dare call into question God’s way of ruling the universe or even one’s own personal life? And yet, this is the implication of discontentment. A discontented person is a proud person.
R.C. Sproul once said, “The secret to a happy life is humility.” The more I think about what makes life displeasing, the more I’m convinced Sproul is right. Humility would go a long way in us learning to be content.