I’ve been thinking a lot about contentment lately. It’s easy to want more or to feel dissatisfied with our life circumstances. If you’re visionary in nature, you look at the future, imagining something better. However, God calls us to contentment. The dictionary defines contentment as being satisfied. As I look around at our culture, I see a lot of dissatisfaction. I hear a lot of grumbling and complaining. We’re stressed out, sick of the pandemic, and longing for change. Some of that is because we’re living in a fallen world and we’re longing for Christ to come and make all things new. There’s discontent with life here on earth. However, God calls us to be content.
Contentment in God’s eyes is paramount to gold. A contented, satisfied heart is a beautiful thing. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).
How are we to be satisfied while still longing for His kingdom to come and His will to be done? How are we to nurture contentment while still being authentic with our dreams and desires? Isaiah 25-26 give us a few choices we can make to nurture contentment while still holding on to our hope for more.
3 Choices for a Contented Spirit
Choose to Exalt God for His Faithfulness. “LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago” (Isaiah 25:1). Even when we are in less than ideal circumstances, we can make the choice to praise God for His faithfulness. I learned this when journeying through cancer. It’s not a shallow, happy-clappy “hallelujah.” It’s exalting and giving God thanks that’s deeply rooted in His faithfulness. Our circumstances may change, but His character does not. The praise we offer Him when life is not going well is perhaps more valuable to Him than the thanks we offer when life is going great. It is a sacrifice of praise that comes from a pure heart (Hebrews 13:15).
As we choose to exalt and praise God for His faithfulness, even when life is challenging, the Holy Spirit pours more contentment into our hearts.
Choose to Relax in His Goodness. “This is the LORD, we trusted in him” (Isaiah 25:9b). Many Bible scholars feel that trusting in the Lord is best described as relaxing in His goodness and care. I love that! I am not always great at relaxing. What about you? When you are completely relaxed, you are resting and content. That’s what God wants for our lives. He wants us relaxed and trusting His goodness, His timing, and His sovereign control.
As we choose to relax in God’s goodness, the Holy Spirit will pour more contentment into our souls.
Choose to Focus Your Thoughts on Him. “You will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3). This literally calls for training on our part. Train your heart to live life on two levels. On one level you are working in the office, at another level you are in prayer. Or, on one level you are changing diapers, on another level you are focusing on God’s goodness to give you your child. On one level you are cooking, on another level you are praising God for food and shelter. Peace comes as we focus on the Lord’s Almighty character.
Try this: set the alarm on your phone to go off 7 times throughout the day. Each time it goes off, pause for just a moment and reflect on how wonderful God is. Focus your thoughts for a moment on His love, or His faithfulness, or His goodness. By training your thoughts to return to the Lord often, you will be teaching your heart to be content and the Holy Spirit will pour peace over every anxious thought.
Friends, the truth is, we live in a fallen world where sickness, crime, and injustice often seem to be advancing. But God has not left His throne, and contentment is possible. Try these three choices this week and watch and see what the Holy Spirit does in your heart.
If you’re looking for a devotional to help you with contentment and peace, get your copy of Psalms for The Anxious Heart! This 30-day devotional includes a short reading from a verse in the Psalms, a prayer, and worship music suggestions.