Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8
Satan tries to ruin our contentment by convincing us that we are wasting our time doing what we should be doing, and should instead devote our time to something else. He packages this message and delivers it to you wrapped in a pretty bow, causing it to pervade your mind to the point where you just KNOW that the grass is most certainly greener on the other side. Adam and Eve had the perfect life. They were living in a place of abundance and contentment where they walked with the lord in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8), yet they allowed the Devil to steal their contentment from them, thinking that the one thing they weren’t allowed to do would be their fulfillment.
The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, while Jesus comes to give us an abundant, satisfying, full life (John 10:10). When you hear the words STEAL, KILL, and DESTROY what do you think of? I think of complete annihilation, dropping an atomic bomb and ending everything, slaughtering. The movie Gladiator comes to mind, when the main character Maximus went back home only to see that his family members has all been killed. Their lives had been stolen (and his as he once knew it). His home and land destroyed.
The Devil wants to devastate our lives so that we are irreparable, to the point where we can never find our way back to the Savior (Jesus Christ), and every time we give him a foothold, he takes full advantage and busts the door wide open. He is the epitome of the saying, “Give him and inch and he’ll take a mile.” This is why if we allow him to step in and entertain the thoughts that he places in our mind, we will be deceived. He’ll have you convinced that you are not content, but that once you achieve __________ (you fill in the blank) you will be. Of course, with that mindset, that time will never come.
I recently experienced something like this. Just a couple weeks ago I moved from an apartment with one roommate into a townhouse with two. While in my apartment previously, I kept finding myself saying things like, “I’ll be sooo happy when we move!” And we ended up finding a place that is pretty much perfect, but hours after moving I found myself feeling…empty. People around me kept saying things like “OMG you kitchen is amazing!” “You have a garage!” “You have your own bathroom!” “Aren’t you happy?!” But really I wasn’t, because immediately after moving I found myself in my whirlwind I-have-to-make-everything-perfect mode. In reality, it is nearly impossible to unpack, purchase needed items, and coordinate and set up décor in just days, but I allowed the Devil to convince me that I would not be happy with my pretty amazing new home until everything was exactly in the state I desire—like something out of a catalog.
I found myself working to unpack for hours in between work and other events, constantly thinking ugh should I skip church to unpack??, constantly tired, surfing websites like Crate and Barrel (knowing I can’t afford much there!), World Market, Wayfair, and Kirkland (which I adore and highly recommend!), and worrying about how I was going to pay for all of the things that I somehow convinced myself I needed. I had allowed the enemy to steal my joy in such a way that having the new place I desired was no longer enough. Having my roommates, friends and family move my belongings into the house FOR ME while I was away for the weekend was not enough. Having a walk-in closet was not enough. Having people give us so many of the things we actually needed not enough. Instead of focusing on the many blessings, all I focused on was the anxiety and the lump in the pit of my stomach that I felt every time I walked into the house (better yet, way before I even walked through the door) and set my glassy-eyed gaze on the huge mess.
One day I played back conversations in my head, answering questions from friends and family members asking excitedly about my new place to which I always started off by responding with a tragic groan, then proceeding to explain to them how stressful the whole process was. I was convinced that was a normal response. Who was I?? All the while, I couldn’t understand how my roommates were so cavalier about everything! While I was inwardly freaking out about where I would store the blender OR how many books I should put on each shelf of my bookcase OR who would pay for the $700 dining room set that I really wanted so I could entertain all of my very potential guests OR when I would be able to comfortably get dressed in the morning with access to every single article of clothing, accessory, hair care product, and toiletry item I own, something said REST MY CHILD.
I heard those words repeatedly in my head until I did it. I closed the browser where I was scouring Pier 1, took my hand off the mouse and shut down my laptop. Instead I picked up my pink Bible which I hadn’t read all week and turned to Colossians 3 which says “since you have been raised to a new life in Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in a place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth…Christ is all that matters and he lives in us all.” Immediately my mind felt at peace and my soul at rest.
I’ve said all of this to remind you (and me) that you are not perfect, as hard as you scratch and claw and beat at perfection. You are made perfect THROUGH CHRIST. Allow yourself to be content where you are so that Jesus can rule your thoughts rather than your next “get rich quick” scheme, your student loan payments, your future husband/wife or your next hairstyle.
Feelings of stress and worry are something that I personally wrestle with each and every day. I don’t know if it’s just my personality or human nature, but I know that someone reading this is dealing with it as well, so as God said to me, I say to you: REST MY CHILD. Take a minute and breathe. Pray this prayer with me and allow the Lord to calm your ever-plotting mind. Then read His word, workout, or call an encouraging friend or family member. Remember not to worry and to “be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5).
PRAYER: Lord, I apologize for giving Satan a foothold into my heart and allowing him to convince me that I cannot be content in this very moment. Thank you for showing up and showing me that heavenly things matter most, not earthly things. Thank you for giving me all that I do have and helping me not to focus on what I do not have. Thank you for leading me beside the still waters and for restoring my soul. Thank you for quieting the voice within me that says that I always have to worry. YOU are my hope and my salvation, so I put my trust in you, believing that you alone are my contentment and my portion forever. I thank you God because I still don't have it all together, but I ain't worried! Please give me the strength to let go of all anxiety and continue walk in freedom. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!
Don't worry, just smile! Like Blogger, Steven said last week, we are royalty! Someone out there wishes they were you :)