Contentment is one of the hardest things to strive for. Contentment is characterized as serenity, satisfaction and happiness. I used to get contentment confused with apathy. I was scared to be content out of fear that it would somehow mute my ambitions. I now have a different understanding of contentment. Throw gratitude into this mix and contentment takes on an entirely new meaning that doesn’t hinder my ambitions at all but rather checks that they are aligned with right motives.
Jh 4:14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
I never consciously wakeup in the morning and think: “Today I want to be discontent.” Discontentment creeps in when I’m not focused on Jesus as my ultimate life source. I start to drink the tap water instead of the Living water. I can start to get irritated at work about the little things, or think myself better than someone else. You know those moments where you just want to put someone in their place and think it will somehow make you feel better? It never does and you just end up regretting hitting “send” on that email too soon. Or those moments when I think I am owed recognition. This is how discontentment can seep into my life.
Living water springs from an unfailing source and is ever-flowing. Jesus is that source. Nothing-new here right? So why is it that so often we find ourselves drinking the tap water? Even worse, some will eventually downgrade to sewer water. When I become discontent I start to focus on what I don’t have. Discontentment is exhausting. It leaves you always wanting more and feeling short-changed. It’s also really dangerous as it will affect your view of God if it is not addressed. When you find your heart failing and turn to chasing other things for fulfillment besides God, eventually you come up empty.
Ps 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Sometimes our hearts long for the Living water, but instead we simply fill the void. I know this is happening to me when I let my schedule run me instead of me running it. I allow things to slip. I am willing to wake up a half hour early to get to work to get out early, but not to read God’s word. Don’t we all make time for people we love and who make us feel good? I know I do. No matter how busy life gets, when it comes to those I care about I make time. Yet, too often the God who’s love is perfect and is the Living water does not make it onto my priority list.
What impact do I want to have left behind the most, the impact I made at some job for someone else or an eternal one on others? There are those who may enjoy great wealth and notoriety today, but nothing they have or do will last forever. When I take my eyes off of the forever perspective I start lowering my standard and reaching for A fill versus The fill. And I can get distracted by the things in this world that look “easier” or “comforting” when they really only promise false hope.
1Peter 2:8b They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood […] that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
The bible says because unbelievers do not follow God’s word, they find Jesus to be an obstacle in their way and a cause for disproval and even anger. When I start to reach for things that are not Christ to fill me, or prioritize other things before him, I am basically doing the same thing. I can start seeing Jesus as an obstacle instead of the source of fulfillment. The Christian walk becomes hard and burdensome if I look at what others have and what seems to come easy to them. It’s not though, that’s just the mirage.
If you drink tap water long enough it starts to taste normal, your taste buds adjust to it. However, if you drink the Living water you immediately taste the difference. When I internalize this truth and apply it, it frees me. I don’t see my walk as a burden but an incredible calling, and I praise God for it, like 1Peter 2 references.
2Cor 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.