It amazes me sometimes how quickly I can become discontent. There are times that all it takes is a walk down the street, maybe a short conversation with a friend or acquaintance. Other times it’s a quick drive through social media. Regardless of the source, I’ll find myself suddenly unhappy with my car, house, career, vacations, or whatever else.
Discontentment is sneaky, like a ninja stealing into a fortress without the guards ever knowing he’s there. The occult is defined as something hidden. The power of darkness is in its ability to keep our blindfolds on, to prevent us from noticing its advances. To the extent it can accomplish that is the extent to which we will be enslaved by it.
But we don’t have to stay blind. We can rip off whatever devices our adversary tosses over our heads and see the truth. And many of us need to understand just how damaging discontentment can be.
Paul mentions discontentment in 1 Cor. 10 and lumps it into the same conversation as idolatry, sexual immorality, and the exploitation of God’s goodness. I don’t know that I’ve ever really recognized the severity of being discontent. Bad? Sure, but in the same league as sexual immorality and idolatry? You know…the really bad stuff.
I think all we really have to do is consider a time in which complaining was the main course and we might understand the damage it causes. Get around people who are really good at grumbling and notice how you feel afterward, like maybe you could use a funnel of sunshine right into your body to bring you back to life.
But that can be a bit vague so here are some more concrete issues that come from discontentment: Discouragement, jealousy, envy, strife, division, selfishness, comparing, bitterness, depression, and more.
Discontentment is a tool our adversary uses to unleash an onslaught of negativity into our lives. It gets us to strive for what we want using our own methods and schemes or we can go in the opposite direction and give up altogether.
But we don’t have to accept this. We don’t have to remain in a place of discontentment or even let it through the door. It can be traded, exchanged for thankfulness. The question is, “How?”
The place to start is our identity and being reminded that things, no matter how shiny or precious, don’t have the ability to define us. Our identity is already set in stone and cannot be changed. We are loved, adored, significant, valuable, cherished, worthy, and so much more. We are gold and that won’t ever shift no matter how we move through life.
Having our identity set in Jesus will give us the ability to start practicing thankfulness. When we take a moment to look around at what we do have instead of focusing on what we don’t, we can see that we are way more blessed than we realize. So start giving thanks for all of it! Speak the words out loud. Shout it from the rooftops. God has given us so much and we need to recognize it, to thank him for it. Then we can feel our attitudes start to shift as negativity falls away.
I’ve been saying this a lot lately but many of us wrongly believe that information alone will bring transformation. Transformation comes when we apply the information we’ve received, when we take action. This is especially true when it comes to being grateful. We often verbally express our discontent but not our thanks. It’s time to change that. Sing praises; Speak life; transform dark atmospheres into radiant light!
And for goodness sake can we please stop comparing ourselves to others? It’s a game straight from hell and we can refuse the invitation.
Jesse and Kara