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Contentment is a daily trial for me. Like being patient and guarding my tongue, I struggle to find joy in my circumstances. Philippians 4:11-13 are verses I read and meditate on often in hopes of procuring an ounce of Paul’s contentment.
Part of my struggle with contentment is not just in trusting that God supplies all my needs, but the fact that I have always equated contentment with complacency.
And I do not like complacency.
However, the two are not the same.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines complacency as:
“a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better”
I am just not a complacent person. I’ve never been one to sit still and let things happen; I’m a doer, and I constantly want to improve myself. So being complacent is simply not in my vocabulary.
But I don’t think God calls us to complacency. If anything, He desires for us to seek Him and love Him with all our hearts. That’s certainly not something I can do if I’m complacent.
“satisfaction; ease of mind”
While I do not think we as Christians should be complacent, we should aspire to have ease of mind, knowing and trusting that God provides all we need (Matthew 6:25-34).
In his classic The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine, A.W. Tozer challenges Christians to know the person of God, to actively hunger and thirst for Him Who created us and desires to be known by us.
“The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain” (17).
In our hearts is a restless spirit, a longing to know God, and yet we do not know Him nor His peace because we aren’t pursuing Him. Instead, our time and energy are spent in shallow activities and hollow worship where we go through the motions but miss God Himself.
Instead of simply pursuing God, we’re pursuing . . .
God and a better job or
God and meaning in my life or
God and a husband or
God and the best school for my child or
God and a better church or
God and the perfect house or
God and the most successful child
and on and on and on.
“The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the and lies our greatest woe. If we omit the and we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing” (18).
Let’s strive to be content in our home lives, in our marriages, in our present circumstances, whatever they may be. Let’s also aspire to that “ease of mind” that comes from finding joy in all situations.
But let’s not confuse contentment with complacency.
We need to wake up and ask God to fill us with a hunger and thirst for Him once again.
We need to pursue God like we did once before, when we first met Him.
God calls us to contentment, but many of us have become complacent instead. We’re pursuing everything but God, and the result is a restless spirit and empty, unfulfilled lives.
I pray that He will rekindle the flame that once burned so brightly in us so that we will come to know the person of God.
Do you feel restless inside? Are you content with your life, or have you become complacent?