The world wants us to believe that we aren’t enough, don’t have enough and that we need to strive and strain to get ahead to be able to find happiness in this world. But this is a fool’s errand, as we know striving for more only creates the desire for more according to the law of diminishing returns. The Bible says “Hell and destruction are never full, and never satisfied are the eyes of man.” We will never arrive at a place of perfect contentment this side of heaven, because we were made with eternity in our souls. But, I want to show you today why it is so important to learn how to cultivate contentment and the blessings it brings with you here today.
This beautiful world the Lord created was for us to enjoy to His glory and to use for His kingdom. It is only when we take our eyes off of ourselves, our fleshly desires, and focus on all the good He has given as coming from His hand that we can truly rest, enjoy and find contentment in His blessings.
Why it is important to learn how to cultivate contentment
"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." 1 Timothy 6:6-10
We are stewards
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2: 15-17
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for God has said: 'I will never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.'" Hebrews 13:5
Essentially, we have a job to do here on the earth. Not to be consumed in our love for earth, but to recognize our responsibility here. We are to be utilizing and managing all resources God provides for His glory, kingdom and the betterment of His creation. (Genesis 1:28, Psalm 24:1, Jeremiah 29:4-7, Matt. 25:14-30,1 Thess. 4:11, 1 Cor. 10:31, …)
For this reason, we are not called to just sit on our hands waiting for heaven. We are called to work as unto the Lord for his glory. When we view everything as the Lord’s first, we can rest in knowing each possession is ultimately His. When we understand that we are stewards, it frees us to receive all things from his hand with gratitude to be enjoyed and used for His kingdom. In light of this, some things we thought we wanted so desperately suddenly don’t seem as important. We were not created to pursue our own dreams, but to live out His kingdom on this earth.
Something to consider: What has God given me today I can thank Him for and ask for help to steward well?
God’s Math is greater than our math
In our hustle culture it is easy to think we will gain more when we work more, but what are we gaining? We should look instead at what we might be losing in that striving.
"Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!
Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings;
They fly away like an eagle toward heaven." Proverbs 23:4,5
Yet God’s math is greater than our math.
As our Heavenly Father, God doesn’t measure as we measure. His resources are not limited as ours are. His is an unending supply. It is in giving that more comes, pouring out that we are filled, through lack that we are supplied, in humility we are honored. For our finite minds this is an impossible concept. We won’t be able to fully grasp how God will supply our every need, but we weren’t called to understand it. Instead, we are called to follow Him.
As believers we are not called to understand fully, but to trust Him and obey. We can only step into obedience in this before understanding, through faith.
Something to consider: Where have I calculated by my own reserves instead of God's? How can I surrender my "common sense" with His calling and leading today by faith?
Practical ways for how to cultivate contentment
But how can we obey in faith? How can we practically be cultivating contentment in this world?
Trust His love for you
"For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 'Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.'" Luke 12: 30-32
Put first things first. Did you catch that promise? He promises to give you the kingdom! This will not come without work, effort, or challenging times, but we can trust His provision of Himself through all of it. Trust His guidance and equipping through faith knowing He loves you and will use every circumstance to draw you closer to Him- closer to peace, rest and fullness of joy.
Work as unto the Lord
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." John 6:27
We are stewards here but we are also heirs! God has promised a full and rich inheritance and so we can freely labor, love and serve knowing our inheritance is set! We do not have to strain and strive to earn our place in heaven, it is ours now! I hope you can see how freeing this truth is! We have work to do as we are free to labor and serve for the kingdom, but we don’t have to hustle and strive for the reward. We will be equipped and enabled to follow whatever He calls us to.
Live with less
"I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances." Phillippians 4:1
"Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”Luke 12:15
Because we can receive everything as from His hand, trust Him to provide what we need and equip us for our callings, work freely with a promised inheritance, we can easily learn to live with less. Living with less needs frees us to instead focus our energies on other’s needs and the work He has called us to. When we aren’t toiling and working for more and more, we can sure save alot of time.
When we are happy with less, we become less tempted to covet other’s lives or possessions. This is an easy temptation especially on social media. However, when we are content with less, we are less tempted at wanting more stuff. We see the joy our friend has, and realize we already posses that same joy with what we currently have.
"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38
When we choose to live with less, and be content with less, we will have a fuller bank account to give, and fuller time availability to serve as well. More stuff = more time managing it. When we live with less we enjoy a newfound sense of freedom. More stuff can weigh us down and create unneeded stress and wasted time. Instead we can focus on generosity and pouring out more of our time and resources for others.
Make decisions from trust not fear
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? ...Do not worry then, saying, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you." Matthew 6:25, 31-32
There is so much comfort in these words! The Bible is full of similar verses, yet how easily we forget this and become anxious about our own needs, or if we have enough to be generous. We hold back, become miserly and dependent on our own resources so easily. These feelings usually stem from a place of fear. It takes faith to not fear. Faith is what enables us to not withhold or not to worry. This is why cultivating contentment is an ongoing practice. It requires faith, and faith requires practice. We need to reflect daily and ask our Father to help us walk by faith and leave the results up to Him.
Enjoy and use what you have for His kingdom
"These curses will be a sign and a wonder upon you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart in all your abundance, " Deuteronomy 28: 46-47
We can start where we are, with the gifts and resources we currently have available to us and pursue all the good work He has for us all the while enjoying His gifts! The world is full of sweet rich blessings when we open our eyes to them and live into the fullness we were meant to enjoy here. God is not a miserly Father, He is generous and abundant in overflowing blessings. We only miss out on them when we are focusing on selfish and fleshly desires.
Gratitude is the best attitude
” For the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness… But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:26, 30-31
Finally, we can cultivate contentment by also practicing gratitude. There are a multitude of reasons to be grateful for and keeping our eyes on those things will diminish the lack we were feeling. Our anxiety will dissipate and our stress will subside when we focus on gratitude instead. Hard days and difficulty will be a part of our lives, but even on those days there will be a multitude of His mercies present we can focus on. Look for the fruit He is producing in your heart, in others and in the world and thank Him for it!
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How to cultivate contentment conclusion
To sum up, here are the ways we can put this into practice in our daily lives.
- Trust His love for you
- Work as unto the Lord
- Live with less
- Be generous
- Make decisions from faith not fear
- Enjoy and use what you have for His kingdom
- Be generous
- Gratitude is the best attitude
I hope this post was an encouragement to you! It surely was for me, as I worked through all these verses! I was convicted and encouraged once again to walk by faith and not by sight as I rest in my Savior’s love for me.
In His service,