lessons of contentment from a rainbow loom kit
The other day one of my children was happily creating jewelry with her rainbow loom bands. Then a sibling came along with their kit and started on their creation. However this sibling had a tool that was not in her kit. She wanted the tool. She didn't want to wait to share it. She became upset that she didn't have that tool. The want of the tool planted a seed in her spirit that produced the fruit of discontentment. The design laying in front of her no longer held any pleasure. She proclaimed she did not want to do this activity any more.
As I started to use this oppotunity as a chance to teach contentment, thankfulness and joy to child, my own spirit fell under conviction. How many times had I acted the same way? I am perfectly happy with my activity, my relationships, my appearance, my belongings. And then my eyes behold something new. Something that challenges the worth of my current situation. Nothing has changed in my circumstances other than the preception that there is something better than what I am currently experiencing. My joy is robbed by jealousy and envy.
Paul states in Philipians 4:12 that he has "learned the secret of being content." It is not natural. Our natural, sinful state is to question whether God really does provide all that we need and if we can truly trust Him. This was the original sin in the garden. Eve did not trust that God had given her every good thing. She did not trust in His Character and His Promises. When Satan tempted her with disobedience, she allowed herself to be lured away. She was in the best environment possible and a perfect relationship with God. Yet, she found herself desiring the one thing she did not have and questioning God's command to not eat it. Contentment is not natural. It must be learned and sought after.
God gives us seven ways to learn contentment in the rest of chapter four in Philipians:
- Rejoice in the Lord.
- Be gentle with all men.
- Recognize that God is always present.
- Fight anxiety with prayer and thanksgiving
- Focus your thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute and anything excellent or praise worthy
- Acknowledge the promise that God will supply our all your needs
- And most importantly: accept and believe the promise in verse 13...."I can do all things through Him who strenghtens me"
I recognize that when I am discontent or filled with envy it is because I am not pursuing any of these things. Even just focusing on one of the ideas listed will totally change my attitude. How can I long for what others have when I acknowledge that God will meet all my needs. In the moment that I make that acknowledgement, I realize that when I long for what others have I am telling God that He does not supply my needs.
My plan is to print this out and tape it where I can read it often until these ways become a part of my spirit. If this is something that you struggle with please join me and we can do this together. For the Word of God brings Freedom!