Practicing contentment

Am I content with what I have in life? I’m afraid not – there are a lot of lusts lurking in my heart – they surface without warning. But I fight without giving up and God has been faithful to save me from error every time I make a sincere effort. And here’s what I learned:

1. Renewing my mind

The first thing I must do is to fix my eyes on things above. If I keep on looking to things below, contentment will always be far from me. The lusts and vanities of this world will blind our souls to spiritual realities. We cannot see what is truly valuable, beautiful and worthy unless we fix our eyes on Christ. The world keeps saying, “A better smartphone, a better car, a better investment, blah, blah, blah…”. It always keeps getting better and better (these things are not sinful in themselves but pursuing them can cost us our very souls). We must learn to pause and look to Christ Who satisfies our souls. Our minds must be renewed by God’s Word for this to happen.

Colossians 3:1-2 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [ESV]

2. Cleansing my heart

The second thing is to develop spiritual vision. I must be so saturated with the Scriptures that I see everything from Christ’s perspective. This is not something superficial but is a result of the Spirit working deep within our souls – one day at a time – cleansing our sinful motives, misplaced passions and worldly appetites. As we cooperate with Him everyday, we’ll find more contentment in knowing Christ, His power and the hope that He offers.

Colossians 1:9-10 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. [ESV]

We see as we are. If we are carnal, we’ll see everything from a worldly perspective. If we are spiritual, we will see things differently. As the Spirit works with the Word that we receive and gradually cleanses our heart more and more through trials, our spiritual vision gets better and better.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. [ESV]

3. Fixing my will

Thirdly, I must learn to deny myself and carry the Cross – it is about making conscious choices every time I’m tempted to lust for more. The Spirit of God will help me but I must make conscious choices. The Holy Spirit will not control me and subdue my will magically.

Mark 8:34-37 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he [Jesus] said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? [ESV]

Jesus made it clear that those who lust after the world cannot follow Him. We must understand the terms of Christ’s call clearly or we will be like those who “walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19 ESV). We are deluded if we think we can have Christ and the world at the same time. I urge you to read the Word of God seriously everyday – it will save you from delusion and destruction and keep you content in Christ.

Finally, remember these words of exhortation:

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” [ESV]

And don’t forget this warning:

1 Timothy 6:6-10 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. [ESV]

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