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 Truth about the Truth

Truth? What Truth?

Before I even go on to talking about truth, perhaps we need to talk briefly about it’s existence.

The position that there is no absolute truth, and that everything is relative, that whatever is true for you is true for you and doesn’t necessarily have to be true for another person is dangerous – for the simple fact that human beings are fundamentally finite beings that require a reference point wholly outside themselves. We are followers. We are drifters. Which would be fine, except that there are very bad places for us to drift into.

Human beings require a definite anchor wholly external to themselves.

Until we have that anchor or that reference point, external to the human heart we end up in meaninglessness and madness/depression. We all understand and operate on this level because we all, to one degree or another, live for something beyond ourselves and outside ourselves. The more selfish and internal we become, the more we lose hope and meaning.

In retrospect, Nietzsche’s understanding of humanity, where the anchor was removed and where the existence of right and wrong got blurry, led to nihilism and the Third Reich. Nietzsche said that madness was inevitable for “superior men irresistably drawn to throw off the yoke of any kind of morality” in his book ‘The Dawn’ and himself went mad towards the end of his life. Cases in point.

The freedom of Christianity is that it provides the human being with meaning and a frame of reference outside himself/herself. You could argue that any other religion does this also, but that’s not my point here currently.


The Truth about the human heart

And if we view humanity now in the framework of the existence of absolute truth, the next point is that human beings are incredibly good at acclimatizing to our present environments. We’re followers, We’re drifters.  So if we approach the pedophile and try to understand what is going on internally, you will notice that he/she doesn’t wake up one day from being a good person to being a pedophile. You move into that way of thinking slowly and then your actions and behaviours begin to follow. At which point the person doesn’t actually think what they are doing is that bad.

The reality is (if we were to have some amount of clarity/honesty and understanding about our hearts) that we have nothing good in and of ourselves. Left to our own devices and what we truly desire to do the world would be in total and utter anarchy and chaos, and suffering as a fundamental result of our evil.

The reality is, there is potential inside us all to be Hitlers and Pol Pot’s but it won’t happen overnight. There is incredible freedom from high-ground judging in this assessment of things, and yet an enabling for making real steps towards morality and goodness.


The Truth that we think we know but we really don’t

But here’s the other thing about truth that we often fail to realise: the trick about truth is not that we don’t know it – it’s that we need to keep it at the forefront of our consciousnesses. Daily. Again – my point that human beings are drifters and acclimatizers.

In one sense, we all know what the right things are, but it’s actually being reminded of them, and in so doing believing them and then acting upon them that is key. propositional truth learnt once upon a time does nothing for the human being.


The blessings of Truth and the reason for Worship

Which leads me to 2 key applications:

Too often, we who call ourselves Christians actually don’t have a right understanding of who God is. I.e. on the one hand we know that God is FOR us, ALL the time, that God is GOOD, ALL the time, that God is FAITHFUL. But we don’t really function in the joy and peace and freedom that should result in ‘knowing’ such truths. So we’re really quite terrible at living out the realities of these ‘truths’. In some ways you could say that all Christians are plagued with currents of atheistic thinking – not thinking that says God doesn’t exist, but thinking that says that God is not really who he says he is in his Word.

And so, here we can now understand the beauty and the function of worship and prayer and bible reading. Not just as a Sunday morning service activity, but as daily, hourly, moment by moment activities that are necessary for the living and right functioning of the human being. And we can understand the wisdom and beauty of why God demands worship from his people – not because he is an insecure, attention seeking egomaniac, but because in order for us to live in the fullness of what God has called to as human beings, we require such constant reminding and the placement of such truths in the forefront of our minds – so that they seep through to our hearts and bodies and dreams.

Only in that place will we find true life as Jesus said he came to give, and the true freedom as he intends us to have.


P.S. I don’t know if I’ve presented is the most logical or articulate argument for the necessity of absolute truth and God and the application of it into our lives, but if one thing could be said about such thinking and such philosophy/anthropology: it is deeply freeing and empowering for a human being. At least it has been for me.