Christian Living

Desire Meets Contentment

Erin Burton

Contentment. Depending on your story that word can trigger a myriad of emotions. Many people misunderstand contentment to denote the absence of desire, when, in Christ, it is the authenticity and expression of desire that leads to genuine contentment.

King David, beautifully models the coexistence of contentment and desire throughout his prayers in the Book of Psalms. Even though he was a victorious warrior, he had many valid reasons for discontentment through his life. He had to run and hide from enemies and friends-turned-enemies, including his very own son. He lost the son who was the product of his adultery. He killed a man to cover his sin. He longed to build a house for the Lord, but God did not allow him that opportunity, nor did God allow David to see it done through his son, Solomon.  Yet, prayers like Psalm 16 are likely one of the reasons David was called a man after God’s heart.

5The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

David was no stranger to emotional expression, but despite his set of circumstances he seems to work his way to a resolve to trust in the Lord and rest in God walking with him through anything. David even reveals the secret to his contentment. He has hope for something better to come; he has desires. And he has taken solace in his times resting securely in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15). The right perception of what you already possess leads to contentment in the midst of unmet desires. He even calls his current circumstances pleasant in light of what he expects in the future.

Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

Jesus is the ultimate example of desire expressed to God leading to genuine contentment.  On his way to die a terrible death on a cross he prays in Luke 22:42-44: Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.

Although Jesus desired to obey and therefore please His Father, he did not want to die. He agonized, but he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Jesus’ feelings and desires physically wore on his body. Even though it was the plan since the beginning of time, Jesus expressed his desire to the Father. And almost in the same breath, he is strengthened by an angel and able to press forward saying not my will, but yours be done.

This is exactly how we should treat our desires before the Lord. Even when our desire is not the Father’s will, He loves us so much that he would allow us to pray it anyway. As we pray in faith, he is faithful to meet us, and if necessary, reshape our desires to confident trust in him and his perfect will.

Where do you stand with your current lot, your own set of circumstances? Denying your desires does not make them disappear.

Do you have an accurate perception of what Christians possess in Christ Jesus (Take time to remind yourself of all that Christians have in Christ by reading Ephesians 1:3-14)?

Do you believe your inheritance in Christ is greater than anything you currently have or will have?

Are you avoiding your true longings because you are not sure they are in harmony with God’s desire?

Are you reveling in desire but avoiding setting the Lord before you?

Psalm 16 affirms that idolatry will always lead to further discontentment. There is no other route to contentment in Christ but pursuing Christ with all of your heart, mind and soul.

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