Am I experiencing deep contentment in my soul, or am I still thirsty for the things of the world?
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." - John 4:13-14
INSIGHT: I may have called myself a “Christian” for two decades, but I had no real sense of contentment. I could barely pass by the motorcycle shop without wanting to stop and buy something, even if it was just a DVD or a new T-shirt. I had a need to spend money to make myself feel good. On a small level, it’s like a drug addiction where you constantly need a new hit of serotonin to make you feel like life is good. My soul was thirsty for things because I wasn’t truly drinking the living water yet.
Unfortunately, this is true for many “Christians”. They don’t have contentment in Christ and so they turn to the false gods (idols) of drugs, alcohol, exercising, sports, sex, shopping, gambling, non-stop Facebooking/socializing, financial success, etc. For years my idol of choice was business success. An idol is anything you repeatedly run to before running to God. This is evil in the eyes of the Lord.
Jesus said that if we trust and obey Him, we will know the deep joy of His presence. When we abide in Him we experience a deep contentment in our soul, which will eliminate our hunger for the world. Trust me, there is nothing more amazing or satisfying than Spirit empowered contentment. It is not something that you can work up for yourself. You can try to force yourself to have no desires like Buddhists, but that is not real contentment. Godly contentment comes from the inside out, not the outside in. It is a reward for fearing and obeying the Lord. If you are not already there, just imagine what it might feel like. How would your life change if you woke up one morning feeling totally satisfied with your life, just the way it is, or even if you lost everything? You may say, “That’s not even possible”, but with God it absolutely is (Luke 1:37).
After living with my parents for three years, my mom gave me a date that I needed to move out by. It was her way of trying to force my hand into getting a job, rather than continuing to wait on God in my ministry work. But, God had asked me to trust Him alone and not to try to save myself or to ask any other person for help, no matter what. He was teaching me how to depend on Him alone, in difficult circumstances. The first night I slept in my car and I cried for 30 minutes before climbing in the back seat to try to sleep. The next day my friend called and offered me to stay in his downtown office. I ended up sleeping on his office floor for four months. Yes, I had a few sad moments where I felt sorry for myself. Yes, it was disgraceful and humbling, but because I was there as a result of my obedience, and because I did not try to save myself, Jesus was with me in very close ways. There were countless times I would walk into that little office and drop to me knees with tears of gratitude. I became so thankful for the small things I take for granted, like daily showers and soap to wash my face. I had greater moments of authentic joy while living in that office, than I did living in that million dollar house with the twelve seat movie theater.
My faith was tested, and I found a contentment that rose far above my difficult circumstances. Today, I have a few desires still in my heart, but none that I couldn’t live happily without, except my God. Contentment allows you to live completely detached from all possessions and circumstances. This allows you to enjoy anything God puts in your life, or takes away, without it interfering with your relationship with Him. Praise God; He is faithful!