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Discontentment — The Great Thief of Joy

Via Flickr by user Katie@!. Used under Creative Commons License.

Look around at your life, and take stock of the things you see. Do you take joy in what you have, or only see things that ought to be better?

There’s nothing in life that can’t be evaluated. You can measure up your marriage, your job, your house, your education and your bank account. Insecure folks may often take deep looks at themselves. Are they smart enough? Pretty enough? Athletic enough? Successful enough?

Wealthy enough?

In our hearts, some of us are going to say “No.” Money can make slaves of us by warping our attitudes in various ways, and causing us to see our lives and the world around us in terms that are at odds with the word of God. Sometimes that slavery comes in the form of discontentment.

We live in an amazing world today, one full of opportunity, information and luxury. Modern technology and manufacturing have created a world full of  amazing gadgets, tools, gizmos and toys. We are the most financially blessed generation of people that have ever lived… and the amount of real work that we have to do to accomplish a task is the smallest it’s ever been.

But there’s a downside to all of this money and information. The more money we make, the more we want to make — it has an intoxicating effect like that. And in the information age, where we are obsessed with the lifestyles of rockstars and celebrities, it’s easy to look at the heroes of the modern age and compare ourselves to them. But nobody wins the comparison game. And if we become fixated on what they have, it’s easy to lose sight of what we have, or even to despise it. Focusing on the wealth and success of others breeds discontentment in our hearts.

As the comedian said, “Everything is awesome, and nobody’s happy.”

Discontentment can crop up in many areas of our lives, including our marriages, families and finances. It’s okay to aspire to accomplish great things, but when we begin to disrespect or under-appreciate what we already have, discontentment begins to take root in our hearts. Given its way, this cancer slowly turns us against God. Though we may believe in His provision, we despise the things He has provided: “Johnny has a better car/job/house/wife than I do. Why couldn’t God have given me something like that?”

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Continue down that road far enough, and you’ll end up hating the very blessings in your life that are supposed to bring you joy. And you’ll be bitter toward the God who loved you enough to give them to you. If that’s the case in your financial life, money has made a slave of you.

Discontentment is the great thief of joy. To take back what we’ve lost, we have to turn that discontent heart into a thankful one. Thankfulness helps us to see that the blessings God has given us are His best. And it sets us free from the spirit that strives to always have more, hoping that the next thing we acquire will be enough.

The writer of Hebrews had it figured out. Check out Hebrews 13:5:

 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.

The eternal promises that we have in Christ are much greater than any possession or trophy we could have on this earth. Set your eyes on those things, and you’ll being to see the blessings of this life as well.

 

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