There is little doubt that our society suffers from a lack of contentment. Many families bury themselves in debt as they seek to keep pace with the proverbial Joneses. Many individuals move from job to job and career to career in search of more pay, better benefits, and the brass ring that always seems just out of reach. Marital discontentment causes many to hope for greener grass in another relationship. And rampant materialism permeates nearly every facet of American life. All the while the virtue of contentment is nowhere to be found.
Thankfully God's Word addresses these pressing issues with illuminating clarity. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 says, "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
A few verses later the text continues by saying, "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
When considering these verses, along with the rest of what the New Testament teaches on the subject, it seems that the key to contentment is not my finding contentment in money, possessions, or things, but in my finding contentment in Jesus. Contentment comes as I am able to live knowing that in Jesus I have a treasure that is worthy of giving all for (Matthew 13:44). True contentment comes when I value Jesus above any and everything else and then live like I value Jesus in that way. Contentment is essentially living like Jesus and Jesus alone is more than sufficient to satisfy every longing and desire of my life. This treasuring of Jesus loosens the grip of materialism over my life and frees me so that I can truly experience the all-satisfying pleasure of knowing Jesus Christ.
Consider these eleven questions that may help you determine your level of contentment. These questions are aimed at the heart so as you read and think about them be sensitive to what God may be saying to you:
1) Am I content with what I have and the circumstances of my life or am I striving for more and more?
2) If everything in my life was taken away, all of my material possessions, and I had nothing but Jesus Christ would I still be content?
3) Am I living as if I am taking nothing with me when I die?
4) In my life does Jesus look like an all-satisfying treasure?
5) Can I rightly distinguish between my needs and my wants?
6) What is tempting me to treasure it more than I treasure Jesus?
7) Am I discontent with the things of this world, yet content with where I am in my relationship with Jesus?
8) Do I live like I trust and hope in things or like I trust and hope in God?
9) Am I generous, ready to give and willing to share?
10) Am I living and giving in a way that shows it is more blessed to give than to receive?
11) Does Jesus have all of my life?
Contentment is not primarily about money and things. It is primarily about being satisfied with Jesus and treasuring Him above all else.