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Respectable Sins: Discontentment | Part 2

Are you discontent with your possessions and money? Does your current circumstances cause you to be unhappy and unsatisfied? If so, you may be sinning.

In my last post in this series, I defined discontentment and gave a few areas where it is healthy to be discontent. Today, we turn our attention to sinful discontentment.

Why We Need to Deal with Sinful Discontentment

When we are sinfully discontent, we show that we do not believe God to be all wise, nor do we accept God’s sovereign control over our lives.

We also show that our thinking about our purpose in life is flawed. Instead of viewing our purpose in life as to bring glory to God, we believe life is about our glory. When a lack of finances, possessions, or difficult life circumstances do not work to bring us glory, then we become discontent.

These things are major issues. Issues that must be dealt with. For if they are not, they not only result in a rejection of God’s wisdom and sovereignty, along with a continued flawed view of our purpose in life, they also can lead to other sins such as resentment or bitterness.

Areas of Sinful Discontentment

(1) Money and Possessions - When we are unsatisfied or unhappy with our money or possessions, we are sinfully discontent.

The reason we are discontent in this area is because we have a desire for more. A constant desire for more reveals that our money or possessions have taken the place of God in our lives. When this happens, we no longer find our acceptance, comfort, joy, protection, and peace in God. Rather, we find it in our possessions and money, which is a problem and something we need to take action against.

Scripture

When discontentment in our finances and possessions surface, we need to remind ourselves of the truths of Scripture. Here are just a few passages to meditate on:

Hebrews 13:5-6

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

We Learn

We are not to trust in our money or possessions. Rather, we are to trust in the Lord for He alone is our helper.

Luke 3:14

Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

We Learn 

We are to be content with our wages, and we are not to extort others by threats or false accusations if we believe our wages are not enough.

Luke 12:15

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

We Learn

There is more to life than the possessions we own. The parable that follows in vs 16-21 teaches us that it is ultimately our soul that we should be concerned about.

1 Timothy 6:6-10

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

We Learn

Contentment is great gain. Knowing that we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing with us, should cause us to look at our possessions and money differently. Paul tells us that food and clothing is all we need, and we should be content with those things. As well as we learn that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils.

(2) Circumstances - When our circumstances are not what we expect, we can become discontent.

In his book Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges provides a list of possible circumstances that might cause us discontentment. Here is what he says:

  • An unfulfilling or low-paying job
  • Singleness well into midlife or beyond
  • Inability to bear children
  • An unhappy marriage
  • Physical disabilities
  • Continual poor health [1]

While this list is not exhaustive, it should be enough to get you thinking about the circumstances in your life that could lead to discontent.

When we are not content in our life circumstances, we show that we do not trust in God’s unerring sovereignty. And that is not ok, because we are rejecting God’s rule over our lives.

Scripture

The best way to deal with circumstantial discontentment is to remind ourselves of the truths of Scripture. Here are just a few passages to meditate on:

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We Learn

Our current circumstances do not occur outside of God’s will and control, which should cause us to give thanks, knowing that somehow He will use even the most difficult circumstances to sanctify us, build our trust in Him, and to bring glory to His name.

Philippians 4:10-13

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

We Learn

The secret to contentment lies in trusting God, knowing He will provide for us and strengthen us to face every situation.

Psalm 139:16

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

We Learn

God has ordained all our days for us, and nothing happens outside of His will, knowing that should provide us with comfort. Even though we may not understand how God is using our current circumstances, we can rest assured that they are apart of His overall plan for our lives.

Commenting on this verse Jerry Bridges says,

God does nothing, or allows nothing, without a purpose. And His purposes, however mysterious and inscrutable they may be to us, are always for His glory and our ultimate good” [2].

So no matter what we are facing, whether it be unhappiness about our looks, or our job, we should find rest in the fact that God is in control. He has knit us together in our mother’s womb, ordaining our days for us.

Looking Forward

In my next post in this series, I will offer a few ways we can deal with sinful discontentment. Until then, meditate on the Scripture above and ask yourselves the questions below.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you currently discontent about your finances, possessions, or life circumstances?
  2. Do you believe the things you are discontent about have taken the place of God in your life?
  3. Do you believe God is all wise and loving?
  4. Do you believe God is completely and unerringly sovereign over your life?

Resources

[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 71-72.
[2] Ibid., 74

Post adapted from: Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins71-77.

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3 comments on “Respectable Sins: Discontentment | Part 2

  1. [...] Respectable Sins: Discontentment (Part 2) « Christianity Matters Are you discontent with your possessions and money? Does your current circumstances cause you to be unhappy and unsatisfied? If so, you may be sinning. In my last post in this series, I defined discontentment and gave a few areas where it … http://christianitymatters.com/ — Mon, 30 Jul 2012 09:23:00 -0700 [...]

  2. [...] my last post in this series, we began to deal with sinful discontentment. Today, I will offer a fews ways we can [...]

  3. [...] Read More: Alice Smith: Breaking Spiritual Strongholds Unbelief & Discontent Dwarfed by Discontentment Respectable Sins: Discontentment (part 2) [...]

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