Just be content. Sounds simple enough, but let’s face it: In this culture of ours, it can certainly be easier said than done. We are exposed 24/7 to the god of materialism. We need things; yes, I understand that. We need air, food, water, shelter and clothing. After that, it pretty much gets into things we want and desire though not necessarily need. I saw a quote recently; I do not know who said it, but it makes a lot of sense:
“When we focus on and wish for things we don’t have, we tend to forget all the blessings that we do have.”
It’s ok to want to have better things for you and your family, but notice that keyword in the aforementioned quote: Focus. If we constantly focus on stuff we don’t have, we absolutely will forget the good things we do have.
Yes, The Flesh Is Weak But It Can Also Be Strong, Very Strong
Exodus 20:17 NKJV: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
When this was written, the servants, oxen, donkeys were certainly signs of affluence or even simple modes of transportation, but the scripture ends by saying “anything.” Fast forward to 2014, now it certainly can still be the house or wife, but now throw in the boat, pool, vacation home, travel, cars, big screen TVs, etc., etc. We are not supposed to covet anything! This is one of the 10 Commandments; you think God was trying to make a point?
1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” If you take away anything from this post, think about what John is saying here: Any lust you have for things is not from God. God will indeed bless some of us with certain things, but that’s His call not ours.
Here in the United States, we have what you would call a consumer-driven economy. Let’s face it: We love to buy things, and we love to have the latest and greatest gadgets. Combined with our flesh and a well-run marketing campaign, we always need stuff and we need it now. Don’t believe it? Think about a few things:
-Kids, maybe yours, go to college to get four-year degrees in marketing. Actually, you can even get a master’s degree in marketing. And what is marketing? It is the study of how to market or sell stuff.
-Any football fans out there? Why in the world would companies, year after year, spend $3.6 million for a one-minute ad on the Super Bowl? Simple answer really. Because it works.
-Social Media. You think Facebook, Twitter, or Google are in business (and yes, it is a business) for the greater good? They are public companies that generate billions of dollars in ad revenue. Advertising dollars drive these companies. So, after we put all our personal information out there on the Internet, they collect it, know things about you which you wouldn’t believe and direct the advertising your way.
-Credit cards. There are more commercials and special promotions from credit card companies out there that basically are telling you that you are missing out on great things if you don’t use their card.
You would think that I am anti-business, anti-capitalism, but actually nothing could be further from the truth. I am a big supporter of the system we have here in the United States, but just because the system is here, we are the ones who have the ultimate decision on what we are going to do or not do.
If You Are Content, You Will Be Fine
Philippians 4:11-12: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
As Paul makes so clear, the key is to be content in all circumstances. I can assure you, if you are going through a rough patch, “things and more stuff” are not going to solve your problem. Bringing it to the cross, on the other hand, solves a whole host of problems.
James 4:1-3: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
When you are content, the above scripture from James, while true, should not even be affecting you. In this world of ours today, you are literally a mouse click or two away from getting whatever you may be looking for, but at what cost? The easier it is to satisfy our lusts and desires, the more we continue to want. The reason so many people are not content is that they are missing that thing in their lives that we all need: God.