Why we must fight for contentment

Such a title seems paradoxical.

It is the idea that we must fight discontentment with gratitude and delight. We who are of Christian orientation have the great advantage of having an object of complete and utter delight who we worship. Somehow by delighting in God, everything else finds it’s rightful place.

In this world there will always be trouble. The question is how not to avoid it, but to be at peace with a life that will see trouble. Whether it be sickness of a loved one or self, or wars or famines or floods.

The life that is all together and good and lovely is an illusion anyway. For one, what we think we want we probably actually don’t need. And a life without trials or hardships is one that will remain immature and naive.

So I have come to resolve that I will fight for contentment. It seems counterintuitive, but if we realise that the default mode of the human being is to be jealous, to be discontent, to want more, then it starts to make sense. And if you throw in the fact that the average human being floats day by day in a sea of advertising, and media designed to make you discontent, then it really starts to make sense.

And we have all bought and continue to buy into this illusion. We are surrounded by messaging that creates a desire in us and tries to sell us something to satisfy that desire. and when we do, we feel good for a little while, but then find we must have more to satisfy the same desire. And our general level of contentment only gets lower and lower.

False idols, broken cisterns, that’s the Bible calls them.

So I will fight for contentment every day in Christ alone. To find my fullest love and my fullest delight in one thing alone, the everlasting fountain of life. For that alone will set me free. For that alone will bring me contentment.

So I will worship. In the morning and in the day and in the night.

Somehow it always comes back to worship.

The one thing that matters now…

More and more I’m feeling as if one thing and one thing matters. Worship. It’s the one thing that matters now and it’s the one thing that will matter into eternity.

To delight in God and be delighted in by him. And when all is said and done, what if God looks not at the size of our CV, or the size of our bank accounts or how many investment properties we acquired. Nor the size of our ministries or how many people we talked to about Jesus or how many good blog posts we wrote. But on how well we loved. And that is what the first commandment is about right?

And with great joy I am finding that doing the first commandment and the activity of worship cannot be contained to a prayer room or a church service, despite the legalistic and religious boxes I used to place around the task. It is uncontainable. I am finding that it is not some ascetic holier than thou activity but that it is seeping it’s way into everything I do.  From the morning bike ride to the root canal to the double shot flat white. And I find God delighting in all that I do and that somehow there is, increasingly, the freedom to delight in God through all that I do.

And the classic hymn that goes: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim” is still true. But there is another sense in which the more you look at Jesus the more real and beautiful the things on earth become as well. Another beautiful mystery in this glorious journey we are on.

“I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can’t wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song”