“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” 1 Timothy 6:6
Contentment: a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence.
I am a very quiet person. I like the quiet. It drives my wife nuts that we can go on a long car ride without the radio on. Not that the radio is bad, I just prefer the quiet. I can think better. Of course, I love talking to my wife too, but sometimes, we need quietness. Over the years, she has grown to appreciate the quietness as well. I think this is because we have both been growing in our contentedness. We have a great life! We have an amazing daughter, good jobs, and wonderful friends.
In my last post on contentment, we saw there were three types of individuals that were discontent. This post, we look at the consequences of discontentment.
The Bible also says there are four consequences if individuals are not willing to be content.
You will notice it says willingness… Contentment is a choice. You have to be willing to be content in order to avoid these consequences. When our daughter is whining, we tell her that she can choose to be happy or choose to continue whining. The same goes for us.
First, they will envy what others have that they do not have.
Galatians 5:26: “Let us not… be jealous of one another.”
When we are jealous of someone else, we want what they have. Nothing will satisfy us until we get it. Once we have the object of our envy, we quickly realize it isn’t that great. Sure, we may enjoy it for a time, but it will end up in the back of the closet collecting dust or in the garage where the spiders and crickets can enjoy it.
I remember growing up wanting a video game console. My parents refused to buy me one. I wanted one. All my friends had them. Instead, I was stuck playing outside or going fishing. Boring! But now, looking back, my fondest memories are from the soccer field with friends, in the car with mom and dad driving to tournaments, or sitting in the back of the boat with my dad. If I had been given a gaming console, who knows if I would have had those memories.
Now that I’m an adult, the envy game has gotten more expensive. Cars, boats, big houses, all of the “things” that are required to keep up with the Jones’, destroy contentment. I like the way Dave Ramsey puts it, “We spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.” So true. Don’t let envy rot the bones.
Second, they will experience conflict with others.
We looked at this in the last blog post, but here it is again:
James 4:1-3: “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
Envy, jealousy, desire to get everything, and the pursuit of personal pleasure. All of these happen because you are discontent. What does it lead to? Quarrels, fights, killing, war, emptiness. When you experience conflict or fighting, check your motives. Is the fight your fault because you are trying to get something you don’t have?
Don’t let your discontent disrupt your relationships. Learn to be content with what you have and celebrate the blessings and wins of others.
Third, they will not accept the circumstances they are facing.
Philippians 4:11-13: “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Notice that Paul repeats the word learn in these verses. He had gained knowledge through his experiences. This is also known as wisdom. There is a reason we are going through what we are going through. Sometimes, it is a consequence of our own stupidity. Other times, our circumstances are the way they are because God is allowing a test to come our way.
Whether you have every material “thing” you need or want, or whether you are scrapping by, you should learn to be content. This doesn’t mean you don’t work hard or try something different, but you accept your circumstances and try to learn what God is teaching you.
Fourth, they will demonstrate ungodly attitudes.
1 Timothy 6:9-10: “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
I can’t be the only one that thinks about what it would mean to win the lottery. I’m not talking about the “measly” $100,000 prize, but the big one. The millions upon millions. This usually happens right after I balance the checkbook or pay the bills. If I’m not careful, this daydream can turn into something that consumes my thought life. It honestly makes me lazy! I have to guard against this “love of money” attitude. It not only grows discontent but can lead to “many sorrows.” It is all down-hill from there as more and more ungodly attitudes surface.
These four consequences (there are more than the four I outlined above) of discontent are the result of our choice. We can choose to be content with our circumstances, with where God has placed us, or we can choose to be discontent. Join me in my next post for the eight areas in which we are to be content.
All Scripture taken from the NLT. © 2015 Tyndale House Foundation. Used with permission.