Friday, January 20, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: How to be content when you want more

Contentment in Circumstances
A devotional by Hannah Benson

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”—1 Timothy 6:6-7 (ESV)

I don’t know about you, but it is so easy for me to look at someone else and feel envious of their good fortune or to think that they have it made. More followers on Instagram than me? They must feel great about themselves. Life with a better plan than I have? Makes me wish I was like them.

See the pattern and how easily it is to slip into envy and dissatisfaction about anything? And on and on the list goes.

But here’s the thing: I’ve been on both the receiving end of jealousy and the giving side. I’ve received jealously, but more often, I’ve given jealousy and been envious of people. I’ve been the one longing for what another has (this is called coveting. The Bible tells us not to do that in Exodus 20:17 when God gives the Israelites the Ten Commandments). We don’t always have to covet something physical, either. It could be popularity, the level of success they’ve achieved, or any number of things. The Bible also tells us in Romans 12:15 (ESV) that we are to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”. But it is so much easier to complain and wish that I had what they have instead of rejoicing with them that God has blessed them. It’s no fun being jealous of someone else and wishing for what isn’t yours!

I’ve also been on the side where I, sometimes, got what I wanted and achieved what I so desperately coveted. Once it was mine, I thought in disappointment, “This didn’t fulfill me like I thought it would.” An example of this is when I was a student in school, I longed for the day I would graduate. But I mistakenly believed that graduating would solve all my problems and that life would get easier. I looked to graduates and thought, “Wow, they have it made.” But chances are they probably didn’t. Now that I have been a graduate for almost two years, I’ve quickly learned that I was wrong because while being a high-school grad is wonderful, it doesn’t fulfill me like I thought it would.

The thing is that glamour is never as truly glamourous as it seems. Because of our sin nature, even if I got what I thought I wanted, it would never be enough, and I would always want more.

Contentment in our circumstances is a beautiful thing. Now, that’s not to say that if a situation is unhealthy that you should stay when you know you should get out. But it means being content when someone else gets the lead in the musical we wanted. It means being content even when it seems like others have so much more and are happier than you. Because chances are, their life isn’t as perfect as it appears.

Contentment really goes hand in hand with trusting God. When we trust that God will take care of us and that He knows best, we are content where we are and can cheer others on when they are showered with blessings. Being content and trusting God produces godliness in our lives.

When we come to realize that we have all we really need, then we gain such a joy that no amount of money, popularity, or success could ever buy.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Father God, I know that You are enough for me, and I thank You! Help me to live as if You are enough for me. Teach me how to stop coveting what belongs to someone else. Help me to rejoice with my friends even when I am tempted to long for what is theirs. I know You love me and have good plans for me too. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Satisfied” by Chris Tomlin. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Hannah Benson is a Jesus-follower who’s passionate about sharing the love of Christ with others.

From the time she could hold a pen, she was writing. But it wasn’t until she was sixteen that she began to seriously follow God’s calling to write a novel. Hannah is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has at least four novels in the works. For the past five years, she has been involved with her local Biblical theater company. She wants to show others the love of Jesus through the creative arts.

When she’s not acting or working on her upcoming novel, you can find Hannah laughing with her siblings, cuddling her little fluffy dog, or reading books (usually historical fiction or fantasy stories). You can read more of Hannah’s writings on her blog or on her Instagram where she strives to write content that leaves others feeling encouraged.

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