Are you put off by “contentment”? Does it sound like apathy to you? A lack of ambition?
Americans as a whole do not value the idea of contentment. It sounds too much like complacency – like you’ve given up and are just accepting things the way they are. We value the mindset of ambition and a strong desire for success. And too often we think contentment means no ambition at all.
As Christians, we need to understand that the two are not necessarily opposed. While contentment is definitely not going to lead to a strong desire for material or worldly success, it does not preclude us from spiritual ambition for God (not a desire to magnify ourselves). Neither is contentment an excuse to be lazy.
Rather, contentment is the state of being satisfied in the sufficiency of Christ. Our happiness is not dictated by circumstances or our possessions. We find joy in knowing that Christ meets all our needs. It’s important that we have a good understanding of contentment before we dismiss it as something that’s undesirable in our culture.
Contentment Is Fulfillment
Contentment in Christ means we have found fulfillment in Him. Our purpose and meaning in life are defined by God’s purpose for us. We are happy to do His work and to seek His will for our lives. We don’t measure our success by the world’s standards. God’s standards are not the world’s standards. And that’s why the world sees contentment as weakness, as diffidence, as resignation. The world is darkened in its understanding and cannot see the light of God’s truth.
Contentment Is Sufficiency
Contentment in Christ is being satisfied in Him. We focus on the value of the eternal life He gives us. We understand its worth is far above riches and luxury. And because we realize we now have that immeasurable gift of eternal life, we are not consumed by greed and a lust for more and better “stuff”. We recognize that Christ fulfills all of our needs and we are happy in Him.
Contentment Is Appreciation
Contentment is an active appreciation of what we have and a determination to make the most of it. It gets to the root of stewardship – understanding who truly owns all of what we have and desiring to manage it well. It rejects the notion that “I won’t be happy until I get more.” It is fueled by thankfulness and resourcefulness. Contentment is a mark of wisdom.
Contentment Is a Choice
It is clear that contentment is a choice. It doesn’t just happen. We must choose to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God and follow His will. We must choose to focus on the value of eternal life and the riches we have in Christ. We must choose to appreciate God’s blessings in our lives and manage them well for His glory.
Every single day we must make a choice to be content in Christ. We have an unbridled ambition to glorify Him in all we do. Our strong desire to be more like Him and to serve God does not lead to laziness or complacency. Rather, it energizes us work hard for the advancement of the Kingdom – in our personal lives and in the world.
How would you describe contentment? What attracts you to contentment in Christ? What drives you away (or puts barriers in your path)? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.