I am preaching in a few weeks from the book of Philippians on contentment. My passage is Phil. 4 and the familiar words of Paul, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…” (Phil. 4:12). So I’ve been thinking about that a lot. One thing for sure, I won’t have enough time to preach all there is on contentment so I thought I share a few thoughts that probably won’t make it in the sermon.
Samuel Storms wrote, “I am persuaded that all of our problems are conceived and born in the sinful belief that something or someone other than Jesus Christ can quench the thirst of our soul.” God has placed in us a thirst for himself (Psalm 63:1). Discontentment comes when we try to quench that thirst with anything other than God himself. And goodness knows, the world offers all sorts of choices assuming the solution to your restless soul lies outside ourselves, in building a bigger more exciting life. If you are lonely, find a friend. If you bored, do something exciting or buy something exciting. If you struggle with self esteem, learn to be assertive. It trivializes our restlessness, inviting us in a thousand ways to ignore our heart’s true home. Augustine forever immortalized it this way: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”
We had dinner with a missionary who commented when the meal was placed in front of him, “I’ve eaten rat for so long, I’ve lost my appetite for prime rib.” Content with rat, we miss the exciting adventure of knowing God.
A deeply-held, interactive friendship with God is the only true source of joy and contentment. “In your presence there is fullness of joy…” (Psalm 16:11).
Do you recognize your own restlessness? What have you filled your life with that has taken the place that only God can fill?