The Secret That Will Change Your Life
Seven Reasons to be Content
1. We have eternal life! John 3:16, 1 John 5:11-13
2. We are loved by God! Romans 5:8
3. We are totally accepted by God! Romans 8:1
4. We are adopted into God's family! Romans 8:15-17
5. We can talk directly to the King of the Universe! Hebrews 4:16
6. We have a reason for living! 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
7. We have a hope for a great future! Ephesians 1:18, Titus 3:7
"If only…" These two words pepper our conversations and season our lives with feelings of unrest and dissatisfaction:
If only she'd go out with me …
If only I could make the track team …
If only I could have her looks …
If only I had more money …
When we're honest with ourselves, we readily admit it: who we are and what we have are never good enough. We see an ad with a gorgeous model and we want to be her (or him). We walk through a store and crave all the great stuff we know will never be ours. We watch action-packed movies and feel like our lives are boring.
It seems we're never, ever satisfied. Sometimes, though, our lack of contentment isn't really all bad. Sometimes it's even good. Dissatisfied with their poor record, members of a baseball team practice until they're nearly unbeatable. Computer whizzes like Bill Gates aren't satisfied with clunky software so they give us the wonderful world of Windows. And a Christian who isn't satisfied with her spiritual growth digs deeper into God's Word.
But our discontent turns ugly when we let jealousy and envy have its way. "You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can't possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away…" (James 4:1-2, New Living Translation). OK, so maybe we don't exactly murder to get what we want, but if words and thinking could kill, there'd undoubtedly be a few casualties.
We try to fill up our emptiness with more emptiness. When people feel lonely and unloved, their search for love can lead them from sexual partner to sexual partner. Their lives feel boring, so they seek excitement (and escape) through alcohol or drugs. Even "good things" aren't always so good when done for the wrong reasons. Base your self-worth on straight A's and you'll feel absolutely worthless when you get a C.
So how do we find contentment? There is nothing on this earth that can truly fill up our inner emptiness. Why?
Blaise Pascal, a famous French mathematician and philosopher, put it like this: "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ." If we try to stuff anything but God into that God-shaped hole in our lives, we'll end up dissatisfied, restless, discontent. But fill that God-shaped hole with God and what do we find? In a word: contentment.
Sounds great, but does it really work? Well, listen to what the apostle Paul says: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through [Christ] who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12).
These aren't just nice, religious-sounding words. In fact, they are the heartfelt words of a guy who was in prison when he wrote them. They are also the words of a guy who had once been one of the most powerful people around. And they are the words of a guy who passionately believed status, power, wealth and anything else he'd ever had were all worthless "compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord" (Philippians 3:8).
Paul didn't depend on his circumstances or situation for happiness. In his way of thinking, he could be happy when he had everything or he could be happy when he had nothing at all. He'd discovered the "secret" of true contentment: a deep, personal friendship with Jesus Christ. There's nothing that compares to this friendship. It's a friendship that holds the secret to a truly satisfying life. It's a friendship that leads to a life filled with contentment.
Written by Chris Lutes