Early in my faith walk I was NEVER content. No matter how much money I made…or houses I built…or cars I bought…or vacations I took…contentment for me was elusive. It is only now that I can see how my character was at risk during those years. Here’s why…
I used to think about contentment in terms of “giving thing up.” But God has shown me that contentment is much more than giving up the drive for material and financial success.
Contentment is really a character issue.
God asks us if we can resist the temptation for things we “just have to have,” in order to put him first to direct our life in every respect. That’s contentment.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7
My focus on materialism as a young CEO chasing success was driven by an overriding desire for acquiring the “things in life.” The problem with that? There is never enough pay-off when we play the contentment game in that way. Our cravings are never satisfied, and there is always something bigger and better to acquire.
Coveting “things” messes up our need to be content. It doesn’t have to be the “big stuff” like houses, cars, and boats. It could be the acquisition of the Ph.D. degree you’ve been eyeing, that invitation to join the exclusive country club down the street, or anything tangible or intangible becoming an obsession diminishing the joy in life and living out our purpose in Christ.
Seeking to be content in God’s eyes is a deliberate move to rearrange our priorities and change our source of security from what we have to what God promises. For me, I had a burning goal to be successful and amass wealth. I worked furiously to get it at the expense of everything else. In that mode, how in the world could I be content with less at that point. How in the world could I live a balanced and Christ-like life under those circumstances? It was impossible.
If our security is in our possessions, our talents, our looks, our friends, our retirement, our spouse, our hobby, our car, or anything else, what happens when they disappear or lose their shine? If we depend on something we can lose for our security, we will never be at peace. God wants us to focus on what we have, not on what we want.
And he wants us to keep our character intact.