Finding contentment in Christ.
By: Elisabeth Victoria Adams
We all struggle with discontentment. It creeps into our lives when scrolling Instagram, watching TV, or fellowshipping at Church. It begins with comparing, which leads to jealousy and dissatisfaction with the life God has given us. Discontentment begins to develop when we long for something God has not ordained. My pastor once said, “Complaining or grumbling is the overflow of a heart filled with discontentment, and the deeper problem of a discontent heart is that it is filled with habitual self-love and self-worship.” The issue is not our circumstances but our desires. What we desire is an overflow of our hearts. We see in the book of Ecclesiastes that we will never be satisfied with what we have. We will always be left longing for more until we find Christ.
Contentment is rooted in a thankful heart, and a thankful heart is developed by being content. In Philippians 4, Paul tells us that he has learned the secret to being content with much and with little—it is trusting Christ! He says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NASB). We often miss the focus of this verse. Paul is not saying he has superpowers or that Jesus is his “good-luck charm.” No, far greater than that, Paul is proclaiming that he can endure all things because Christ is the one who strengthens him. No matter what is happening, we can always be thankful because of Jesus and what He accomplished for us on the cross. Jesus Christ is the one who sustains us and keeps us going. We can be thankful for trials because they conform us to Christ and teach us to depend on Him.
Paul also says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV). We learn contentment the best through our weakness and suffering because we learn to rely on Christ. His grace is sufficient! Those who are in Christ do not need anything else. Sometimes God strips away everything else so that we will focus on Him.
A Christian can be content in the worst situation because Jesus is worth more than anything in the world. Jesus satisfies the deepest longings of our souls. Ultimately, we will never be fully satisfied until we find our joy and identity in Jesus. We will always be left empty and searching until we come to Jesus. Jesus is more than enough. He satisfies the deepest longings of our soul. Is this not a reason to be thankful?! When discontentment and grumbling start creeping into our thoughts, we need to start thinking about Jesus.
Like joy, thankfulness is not just a feeling; it is a mindset and an attitude of the heart. In order to develop this mindset, we must think about Christ and count our blessings. Like any habit, thankfulness takes time and practice. A great way to start is by writing a thankful list or starting a gratitude journal. I suggest starting a journal to write five things for which you are thankful. Counting your blessings is the perfect way to counter-act discontentment. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” (Psalm 107:1 ESV). Another way to practice contentment is by serving others. Have you ever noticed that your problems begin to fade into the background whenever you start thinking about others? It brings us joy and happiness to help others.
Often, we are discontent because we have the wrong focus. Another practical way to fight discontentment is to stop complaining, drop to your knees, and turn your thoughts to Christ. We must transition from a “me-mindset” to a “God-mindset.” When we stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on Christ, our whole perspective changes, and we find joy and satisfaction in Him.
Throughout Scripture, God instructs us to be content and satisfied with the life He has given us (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV). Do not be so consumed longing for the future that you miss the present with all God’s blessings. Contentment comes when we learn to enjoy the little blessings in life and be satisfied with all that God is for us in Christ. So, live in the moment, practice thankfulness, and find your satisfaction in Christ alone!
Elisabeth Adams is pursuing a Biblical studies degree from Liberty University and lives with her family near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She loves the Lord and desires to share her passion for Christ through creativity and writing. She is an artist and displays her artwork through Instagram and Etsy. She longs to grow her walk with the Lord and encourages other women to do the same, all for the glory of God.