I have a good job. Two beautiful children. A deliciously wonderful husband. We love God. Go to a fantastic church. Live in a nice house. In a nice street. In a good neighbourhood. My children attend a fine school. We make memories each year on vacation. I am healthy. My family is healthy. None of us has emotional scars or mental illness. We are happy and flourishing.
Yet I want more.
It calls out to me. You know, more. The bigger house, nicer car, luxurious vacation. They call to me with pressure and guilt. Make my life seem hopeless and inferior.
Content. Why am I not content?
We blame media, commercialism, and consumerism, but there is a deeper problem. Sin. Covetousness. The tenth commandment. The deception of Eve. Fooled to think God is holding something back. When the opposite is truth. God has more. I receive it through contentment.
Trust in God is a life of paradox. Hungry for more of him, yet filled with the Spirit. Pursuing destiny from the vantage point of rest. Satisfied whether in abound, or abased (Philippians 4:12).
Contentment is a choice. Psalm 23 provides a few tips on the attitude of a satisfied soul.
The Lord, my Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd... (Psalm 23:1).
Sheep are prone to wander aimless, following every impulse, unless they have a shepherd. There are many distractions in this world, vying for attention, steering toward a whim in an instant. Keep your eyes on the Shepherd. Don't get caught up in fads or what others do. Follow His lead and you will be content.
I shall not want
...I have all that I need (Psalm 23:1).
Many objects we want, but few we truly need. Trouble follows those who strive after wants. We sing, "Jesus, you're all I need." But are they empty words? Is he all you need? Is he all I need?
Christ is more intimately acquainted with you than you are. He is aware of your needs and will provide. Jesus is all you need. May the rhetoric become a revelation.
Let me rest
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams (Psalm 23:2).
The Good Shepherd gives rest. With the current pace of life, many have forgotten what it means to rest. Even on their day off they can't slow down. Rest is important. Spiritual rest more so. Switch off your phone and other devices. Eliminate stimulants and give your soul a chance to rest. Once you have experienced his peace, you will know contentment.
On the right path
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name (Psalm 23:3).
Jealousy results in discontent. Different paths may seem more attractive but Jesus has it all mapped out for you. The grass is not greener on the other side. Trust him. Following his path has rewards. And greatest of all, his name is honoured.
And in the valley
Even when I walkthrough the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me (Psalm 23:4).
Paul knew to be content in the highs and lows. As did Job. Would I? If all was taken away in a night, would I sing bless the Lord? Could I say the Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need?
He is with us in the valley. What is lost will be restored. He is working all things together for good. That is our God. We don't need anything else.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil (Psalm 23:5).
When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness he told him to turn stone into bread. Temporary relief. Immediate satisfaction. Jesus replied, "People shall live by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).
Satan only offers bread. Father will give you a feast. Live by his Word. Don't be tempted by the world. It has nothing more than bread. You are destined for a feast.
You are blessed
My cup overflows with blessings (Psalm 23:5).
Life overflows when you live for Jesus - pressed down, shaken together, running over. Busyness crowds our perspective, problems overwhelm, abundant overflow forgotten. Count your blessings. Be thankful. Be satisfied. To most of the world, your life is the stuff of dreams. You are living in abundance.
Pursued by goodness and mercy
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6).
And if overflow was not enough, goodness and mercy will hunt you down every day of your life. That's right, hunt you down - goodness and mercy. Goodness is coming after you because you don't have enough. You need more goodness. Receive it!
Feeling frustrated lately? Mercy is hunting you down. Grace erases exasperation. Perhaps you are living a little too fast. Get back in sync with God. The necessary mercy will catch up, dissolving all frustration.
Assured of heaven
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6).
In Psalm 84 the writer expresses, "Oh, to be a sparrow and build my nest in the rafters of God's house." Enthralled in God's presence, the author cannot imagine a more stimulating environment. "Better one day in God's courts than a thousand elsewhere."
Nowhere on earth is like house of God. A house of freedom. A house of courage. A house of victory. Where the Lord satisfies desires, renews strength, and heals disease. There's no place I'd rather be.
Oh yes, I can bless the Lord. I am content.
I'm Sarah Coleman, an Aussie who's passionate about Jesus & family. Through blogs and books I minister life and encouragement. Download my FREE eBook, Be Amazing: You Know You Want To. Find more of my thoughts at sarahcoleman.com.au.
Publication date: September 11, 2014