As usual in January, I have started to consider what I want my new year to look like. What is it that I want? I can answer that in many different ways. I want nice things for my family, good experiences, satisfaction with my work, to save more money. All around me I have influences that urge me to push forward and want more things.
In the middle of all this I have a voice in my head bringing some familiar Bible verses to my mind. Although I am tempted to be even more of a consumer, to push for bigger and more impressive things, the Christian goal is to be content.
For example, Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 12:10:
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (ESV)
And again in Phil 4:11-13:
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (ESV)
And again in 1 Timothy 6:6-8:
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.(ESV)
Contentment is a noble goal, and I have a long way to go. But I am trying to head in that direction. Our family is trying to simplify our life, to give away a lot of things we do not need, to show that extra things do not make us happy. Rather the opposite in fact.
At the end of 2013, will you be more content than now? And how will you get there? How about these suggestions:
- Dwell often on what God has done for you. In comparison to the wonder of what Jesus has done for you, other ways of finding contentment simply do not work.
- See if you can purchase less things this year. Seems easy, but it isn’t. Fight against everything that tells you that more things will make you happy, for it is a lie.
- Make a point of often praying and thanking God for things, rather than always asking for them. This will generate an attitude of thankfulness rather than constant wanting.
I want to reach the point where if someone asks me what I want, I can tell them: “I don’t really want anything except to please God more.” I have a long way to go.