The world will come at you and remind you regularly that your life will not be fully satisfied until you have what it has. Then, after you get it, you’ll suddenly feel outdated, antiquated, unhealthy, poor, embarrassed, or something else ridiculous simply because you do not have the next thing it is offering you.
Discontentment rises to the surface, sets it sights on you, and fires away until you succumb. And believers together often have a much easier times talking about their new house, renovation, car, or any other thing than they actually do talking about the transformation of their hearts in Christ.
The reason? I’m not a doctor, but I think at least in part it is because we believe a lie–the lie that Jesus changing us is less attractive and important than the newest thing we have.
So what’s the solution? Trusting our savior and enjoying him. Let’s remind ourselves of the words of Christ through Paul.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:11-13)
The Googer version: “Hey, Philippians! I am grateful that you were finally able to show your concern for me financially. It is good express yourself in this way. But please don’t think that I feel more complete because of it. I have had a lot, and I’ve had a little. Regardless of my situation, it is Jesus who gives me what I need.”
When we find our identity in Jesus, no other situation can change us.
But comparison is the thief of joy, said Teddy (as my buddy Brett reminded me after the sermon). And when our joy flees, our discontent-o-meter rises. But what is that discontentment really saying?
Being discontent shows we misunderstand the gospel
If Jesus has forgiven us. If his Spirit has empowered us. If his sacrifice has satisfied God’s requirements, then why on earth are we dissatisfied with anything? “Because we’re human,” says one. “Because we’re not God,” says another. But that isn’t the point here. God requires nothing else but faith in his son to be satisfied with us. He has defined our life by our relationship with Jesus, we need not–must not–define our life by anything else. We must not find any value in things. Only Christ truly satisfies.
What is you had less–almost nothing, even?
So the challenge leaving the service: take an inventory of your things. Ask yourself this question, “If I didn’t have this, would I be content?” I pray the answer is yes, I fear the answer is no–both in your life and in mine. We often say, “I’d be happy with less” but the might go away sad because we have great possessions and Jesus starts to challenge our hearts (Mk 10:17-22).
May God, by his grace, strip away our stuff and show us our need for him. And may he do it sooner rather than later.