Monday, March 11, 2013

The Sin of Discontentment

It is easy to feel discontent. After all, we live in a culture that thinks no one should feel unhappy with their lot, or if they are, they are entitled to change it (or have it changed for them - but I digress). More than that, it is a part of our (sinful) nature to think that we deserve contentment with our circumstances and to make our own contentment in things or events an idol. I am guilty.

This struggle comes in may forms:

I am discontent with this job; I quit.

I am discontent with this house. Hello, mortgage I can't actually afford.

I am discontent with my body. Know a good plastic surgeon?

I am discontent, but it will be better when _________________.

It seems that we think that if we are discontent something is wrong. Something needs to be fixed. After all, our circumstances should provide us contentment, right?

Now, I know many of you are wiser than I and already have spotted the error of this logic. Honestly, I thought I got it, too. But I didn't. I was looking for contentment in circumstances rather than in God.

Philippians 4:11-12-  Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
This season of our life has brought with it temptation to be discontent about many things: 

Reduced income.
Living in the city. (I am a country girl.)
Adjusting to being a stay at home mom.
No health insurance.
Cultivating new friendships.

I began to interpret my lack of contentment as something wasn't right. Maybe we had made a wrong decision. Maybe something needed to change. We needed to "fix' this.

Of course, this thinking reveals sin, the sin of discontentment. I thank God for friends who are willing to call sin, sin. As Stephen was seeking counsel from a Christian brother and sharing some of our stuggles this individual pointed out that we are battling the sin of discontentment.

1 Timothy 6:6-7  But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
Typically, we don't see discontentment as a big problem in the Christian life. But, it is a big deal.  Really. Discontentment is doubting the sovereignty of God. Doubting that God has a purpose for every season of our lives. It is forgetting that not one decision or event comes without the Lord allowing it.

Why hadn't I realized this before?  Just realizing that what I was facing was sin made a huge difference. The first step was repentance. Then, I began to look at things differently. Instead of trying to change something to feel content, I started to realize that this season brought with it great opportunity for sanctification.

And, by his grace, The Lord is teaching me much. 

I am learning to... 

trust God more,
be thankful,
invest more time into people rather that projects/home decor/shopping,
appreciate the season of plenty we had,
pray more, 
submit to my husband in difficult decisions,
and to parent more intentionally in the time I am blessed to spend with Jude.

Now, don't misinterpret this as, "I have mastered these things." No, at any moment I am tempted to be fleshly and discontent. But, still, there is such a huge opportunity for growth and sanctification, an opportunity that I did not see when I was only focusing on my discontentment and how I could "fix" it.

Are you dealing with discontentment?   Perhaps you, like me, did not realize the sinfulness of your discontentment  Perhaps you are consumed with "fixing" it by seeking out a new job, home, church, etc.  Dear friend, I encourage you to repent. I encourage you to see your struggle as an opportunity for sanctification. May the Lord use this to make us more like Christ.

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