Contentment: A Battle of Allegiance
“But godliness with contentment is great gain...” 1 Timothy 6:6
The Bible is full of statements like this one that stand in total contrast to what we see and hear from the world. But all too often I find myself torn between two kingdoms- light and darkness. I know the truth, “seek first His kingdom and all these things will be added to you as well” (Matthew 6:33), but I struggle to believe it. I start believing the lies of the world that an extensive wardrobe, a perfectly curated home, luxurious vacations, a successful career, etc. are what will bring me happiness. I anxiously devise my improvement plan to obtain all these things- go shopping ASAP, buy some new artwork for the house, put in more time at the gym and work longer hours. I get caught in a vicious and miserable cycle of comparing and coveting the successes of others. But then after days (and sometimes weeks) of this joyless angst and drudgery, in a moment of mercy, something happens that is hard to explain. I confess my covetous heart, that my deepest desires are not for God, and in His unfathomable grace, the Spirit of God quickens my heart to believe that His words are in fact trustworthy and good. God miraculously allows me to experience the fullness of life and joy forevermore that are found in Him alone and my restless heart finds peace again.
Seeking Christ instead of success isn't a cop out for laziness. Seeking Christ doesn't mean I no longer work hard, enjoy pleasurable activities or travel to beautiful places. Contentment is less about what occupies my time, and more about who occupies the throne of my heart. Contentment is a matter of allegiance. And I’ve started coming to terms with the reality that I’ll struggle with these divided allegiances for the rest of my life. I’ll shed an ocean of tears wrestling for true contentment time and time again. But I’ll end with a quote from Melissa B. Kruger’s book, “The Envy of Eve” that has brought me great comfort:
“Contentment will not suddenly descend upon us. We must actively battle the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil in order to find peace in Christ alone... If you find yourself continually struggling to find life in Christ alone, don’t take that as a bad sign, but a good one. You are still in the fight. We should remember that the Christian life is described as a race, a battle, and childbirth. Each of these images depicts the reality of the struggles that accompany our walk with God. They also point to the joy that is coming. A race has a finish line, a battle has a victory and childbirth results in new life. We can endure the struggle because we know that something glorious is coming.”