Discontentment is another adjective that well describes the human race. There are very few truly contented human beings on this planet because almost every single one of us appears dissatisfied with life. Why? Because we compare ourselves with others and come up short. We are driven by selfish ambition, constantly competing. We want the latest of everything, even when older models work perfectly. We want to keep up with the Joneses and play a never-ending game of catch-up.
Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to better one’s life, but the persistent need for an upgrade can ruin all chances of peace and happiness. What’s the solution? We need to learn to be content with whatever we have and whatever the situation.
The wonderful apostle Paul had learned this. “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” he once wrote. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11‑12).
What was the secret? The secret was the power of Christ. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” Paul said (Philippians 4:13). Paul was able to lead a contented life because he led a Christ-centric life. When we have Christ at the center of our lives, we too will, because we know that he will provide us with everything we need. We know that our destiny lies in his hands and he will ensure it comes to pass. We know that no matter what happens he will make good come out of it. We know that he will fill us and fulfill us!
If we don’t have Christ, nothing in this world will make us happy. We will be like the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met by a well one day, desperately trying to fill her emptiness with men, as some of us do with alcohol, drugs, shopping, eating, sex, or one of a hundred other things! “The water you drink will only leave you thirsty again,” Jesus said (see John 4:1-26).
So, what do we need to do? Here are five things in rapid order. One, give thanks in all circumstances because gratitude leads to contentment. Two, trust in God’s plans for us, even if we are going through bad times. Three, learn to be satisfied with what we have. If we are not satisfied with what we have, we will never be satisfied with what we will get. Four, rely on God’s strength, not our own. Five, look out for others, not just ourselves.
Let us be content. And be happy.