February 27, 2007 by Stacy McDonald

Treasuring Contentment

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Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both
how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where
and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry,
both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through
Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:11-13

Contentment is a great treasure. It comes from a quiet knowledge and resolute understanding of the sovereignty of God. It is a gift given by the Lord to those who are walking in obedience to Christ. Why is it then that so many of us struggle with remaining content? I have found three main reasons why we lose this precious ability.

One, we do not trust the Lord in all things. We allow Satan to whisper lies to us about God’s character and His intentions toward us. We wonder if God notices our circumstances, or if somehow we’ve been overlooked. Yes, God is sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, and awesome; but, in our deception, we wonder if maybe, just maybe, God doesn’t realize how much we’re suffering. Or, in our “special” circumstance, maybe He is not being “fair!”

If you are a parent, you have seen a beautiful picture of contentment in the form of a sleeping infant. The only sound you hear coming from that little one is the small contented sighs of a peaceful rest. (At least while he’s asleep!) He doesn’t lay awake worrying whether or not you’re going to feed him the next day. He doesn’t fret over where he will sleep or who will change his diaper in the morning. He trusts you (1 Timothy 6:8). He is confident in the fact that Mommy has always taken care of him, and he has no doubt that she will continue to meet his every need.

He has the ability to be peaceful and content because he trusts you in all things. It seems God has given this gift to babes; yet, Scripture says He requires this same trust from us. If we, as imperfect mothers, know how to care for our little ones and want what is best for them, how much more should we trust our Heavenly Father? Does He not have our ultimate good in mind?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13

The second and third reasons that we tend to lose our contentment is because 1. we do not remain thankful to God for what He has given us, which causes us to 2. look lustfully at what God has not intended for us to have. We take our eyes off of our blessings and gaze upon the blessings of others. We begin to listen to the Deceiver (just as Eve did) and wonder if there isn’t something better that God is keeping from us.

If you are married, then God has given you a husband who is to be your blessing. He is your protector, your teacher, your leader, your provider, and your lover. You are not to look at the husband of your friend and wonder why your husband doesn’t lead that way, pray that way, compliment that way, treat you that way, or train the children that way.

God knows your needs and you can be sure He is working on you through your husband. Even if he is an unbeliever or a Christian walking in rebellion, you are to look to your own husband for satisfaction, not someone else’s. Do you thank God every day for the wonderful gift of your husband? Are you determined to submit to him as unto the Lord? Do you find joy in your relationship? If you don’t, you can be certain that your husband is painfully aware of it and you will see the fruit of your discontent in his ability to lead.

The interesting thing about contentment is that it opens our eyes to the blessings around us. Discontentment blinds and deceives us. When we are discontent in our marriage we will see every tiny character flaw that our husband possesses, and even those that don’t exist! We will become irritated at his slightest shortcomings and will be blind to his gifts and abilities. We will find ourselves comparing our husbands with other men and our dissatisfied and ungrateful attitudes will grow.

We may decide that we would make better leaders than our husbands and start to act the part! Realistically speaking, some women would make better leaders than their husbands. The real issue is whether or not God will honor her efforts if she stubbornly steps outside of God’s prescribed order in the marriage. Sometimes God may use the quiet submission of a godly wife to work things out for the good of the whole family (1 Peter 3:1).

When we are thankful for our husbands, obedient to God’s order, and content in the good things in our own marriages, then we are able to enjoy the knowledge that God has blessed us right where we are – as imperfect as our husbands may be.

Typically, women do not commit adultery due to raw sexual lust (although it sometimes happens). It is usually related in some way to her state of contentment. Her husband no longer meets her “needs”. He isn’t romantic anymore. He doesn’t compliment her like “so and so” does. She begins to notice all of her husband’s shortcomings (real or perceived) and her gaze wanders. And there is the “beautiful Deceiver,” so willing to fulfill her desire for that fleeting moment. Satan happily supplies someone who seems to promise fulfillment.

She takes her eyes off of what God has graciously given her and places them upon the poor substitute which God has forbidden. It is a simple deception that dates backs to the Garden and a perfect example of the dangers of discontent.

It is also true that without the Holy Spirit of God it is impossible to be content no matter what or how much we have. We will always want more or better.

Here is a quote from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Hebrews 13:14:

“We must bring our minds to our present condition, and this is the sure way to contentment; and those who cannot do it would not be contented though God should raise their condition to their minds, for the mind would rise with the condition. Haman was the great court-favourite, and yet not contented—Ahab on the throne, and yet not contented—Adam in paradise, and yet not contented; yea, the angels in heaven, and yet not contented; but Paul, though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in any state, therewith to be content.”

If your husband is walking in sin at the moment, be sure to take time to thank God for the work He is doing in you through this trial and to show you what He wants to change in you. Don’t just sit and pray for God to change your husband (though certainly pray)! Perhaps the change in you may be the vehicle that God uses to bring your husband to repentance!

If his sin is serious, seek godly counsel before the situation escalates to a crisis. Respectfully confront your husband with his sin (Matthew 18). If he listens and repents, praise the Lord! Forgive! But, if he doesn’t listen, or if his serious sin has been ongoing and consistent, let him know that if he doesn’t go to the elders of your church, you will. Don’t suffer in silence. Love him (and your marriage) enough to get help.

Our society is a perfect example of selfish discontentment. In our thanklessness we want more, bigger, better, newer, younger, different, until we are turned over to what is abominable, repulsive, twisted, cruel, bitter, and perverted. We, being freed from the bondage of sin through Christ Jesus, must learn to walk in holy contentment. Let us be satisfied in our marriages dear sisters and be a blessing to our husbands. Let us be thankful for what God has provided for us and avoid the traps of the Deceiver.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5

Challenge:

Spend ten minutes each morning this week thanking God for your husband. Repent of any discontent that has hardened your heart toward him. Be specific in your prayers. Ask God to bring to mind all of the good qualities that your husband possesses. Start to make a list and make a habit of thanking your husband out loud for things that he does for you. If he is a hard worker and provides for you and the family, let him know how much you appreciate it. Remember the little things matter. It will boost his confidence in his leadership as a husband if he knows you are noticing his efforts and respecting his headship.

May God bless you this week as you seek to glorify God in every area of your life. Be sure to discreetly share any testimonies that will encourage others.

Reasons for discontentment:

1. Failure to trust God
2. Maintaining a spirit of ingratitude
3. Longingly looking to what God has forbidden



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4 Responses to “Treasuring Contentment”

  1. Laura says:

    Stacy, I am so glad that you decided to enter blogland! You are such a great writer, and I look forward to reading your posts! Blessings to your family today! :-)

  2. Marcia says:

    Wow, I’m excited about your blog! And this was a great post.

  3. Mrs. Opper says:

    Dear Stacy,
    I’ve admired your writing, your character and your family for years.

    Thank you for the timely message of contentment within marriage. This is something I’ve been having a hard time with this past week, and am thankful God brought me to my senses. Your post encouraged me in many ways today.

    With respect and friendship,
    Mrs. Denise Opper

  4. Anonymous says:

    “If your husband is walking in serious sin at the moment, be sure to take this time to thank God for the work He is doing in you through this trial and to show you what He wants to change in you.”

    But what do you do, when your well-educated husband has a laborer’s job that doesn’t provide enough to even minimally support the family, and he wants you to get a job yourself, so he doesn’t have to look for something better? Do you obey your husband and work outside the home, or disobey him and trust God to change his heart and motivate him to get a better job?

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