Tuesday, November 20, 2018

More than worth it!

Do you ever have a problem with discontent - the desire for more, better, different? I think we all do at times because we are human. When the drive for 'more' or 'different' is the main focus of our lives, it may be a good thing when that desire is to see more of God's grace and love worked into our lives. When that drive is directed at what we can get for ourselves, how we can make ourselves stand out a little more, or what we can do to put others down so we stand out a little bit more, that drive may not be ideal.

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. 1 John 2:15-16 MSG

Wanting more is not uncommon - but wanting only what God wants for our lives is less prevalent. The desire to see God's good worked out in our lives is oftentimes opposed to what our flesh wants or desires. Our flesh wants ease, but seeing God's best in our lives may involve a little bit more effort on our part to pursue things that we don't always see as easy or pleasant. For example, God wants the best for our relationships. Whenever we are aware there is a riff in one of them, to take the effort to make things right again requires us to go beyond a place of ease sometimes - because conflict is hard!

While the flesh is still alive within us, there will be a drive to have or pursue things we really don't need, or that will do us some manner of harm if we attain them. Dissatisfaction is not always bad, but when it drives us to elevate the wants of our flesh above the needs of our spirit, it is wrong. If it drives us to find elevation of truth and the embrace of God's work within our lives, it is likely not a bad desire! Did you know we can become a slave to our wants? It is true - just try dieting! You want the carbs, but you know your need for them is far less than your desire!

The thing about discontent is there is both a good side and a bad side to that coin. The good side drives us to want only the things God wants for us. The opposite side of that coin is actually something that drives a wedge between us and God. We find discontent - the desire to get more and more for self - just makes us more discontent. The discontent just builds and builds until we begin to pursue more and more of what we believe will satisfy us, but we find no lasting contentment in whatever it is we attain.

To truly know contentment, we need to submit our needs to Christ and allow him to clarify when those needs are just a little more self-centered than they should be. When he exposes those needs as "self-directed" needs, perhaps we'd do well to allow him to replace those desires with a much more godly desire. The moment we acknowledge we have been a little too 'self-focused' is the very moment he is free to re-order our desires in such a way that our needs are really going to be toward the things that bring us deep and lasting satisfaction. When we pursue Christ above all else, we are assured of contentment. It may not be easy, but it is more than worth it! Just sayin!