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On Sunday, October 16, 2022, Pastor Chris spoke to us about contentment. He shared the prayer of Agur found in Proverbs 30:7-9, and he raised the question, “Are you content?” You can check out the message here.


Let me respond with another question: Why would God care? What difference does it make to God whether we’re content or not?


As I pondered this, something occurred to me: Not only is a content person a happy person—and, yes, God does care about our happiness—but also a content person is a stable person.


Let me explain.


I’ve watched people who are discontent in their marriage abandon their spouse, run off, and look for happiness elsewhere. In every case, they left a trail of destruction behind them. I’ve watched people, discontent with their possessions, move God off to the side to make room for their obsession with a bigger house, a nicer car, a better vacation, more and more stuff. They lived the dream, but the dream doesn’t satisfy. It felt empty because it was. They missed what matters in life.


No wonder the Ten Commandments concludes with this law: You shall not covet. In other words: Be content.


But how?


How do we achieve that contentment?


You and I are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads every day (up from 500 or so in the 1970s). Every one of those ads is saying some variation of the following:


• You are not okay unless you buy this.

• You will not be accepted.

• You will not be admired.

• You will not be respected.

• You will not be happy.

• You will not be pretty.

• You will miss out.


On top of that, our culture measures worth with a warped yardstick. If you don’t look a certain way, wear certain clothes, drive a certain kind of car, live in a certain neighborhood, and own all the right toys, you’re not okay.


Squeezed between the voice our culture and the command of God, what do we do?


Give up all ambition? Renounce all achievement? Abandon our goals?


No. Not exactly.


Instead, every time we feel deprived, diminished, less than, we need to take those unhappy feelings to God. Every time we find ourselves comparing ourselves unfavorably to someone else, we need to take those unhappy feelings to God. Talk it out with God. We need to figure out what lie we’re believing and ask God for the truth.


God isn’t trying to rob us of everything nice. But He is trying to help us be deeply okay, deeply happy, and strongly stable inside apart from whatever trinkets He pours into our lives.


Years ago, I needed to rent a car for a business trip. The rental car was new, beautiful, spacious, quiet, smooth, and air conditioned—in every way different from the noisy, rusty, old yellow hatchback I was driving at the time.


I was driving down the road enjoying all this newfound luxury when God whispered something to me: Enjoy it, but don’t be enamored with it.


Enjoy the gifts God pours into your life. But hold them loosely with your left hand, while, with your right you cling tightly to God.


Dwight

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