Contentment is a decision to be happy with what you already have.
How many people can truth-fully say: “I’m happy with my life. I love my spouse and my family. I like my job. I’m satisfied with my house and my car. There are things I want God to do for me, but I am content to wait until He does them in His timing.
“I am not jealous of anyone else or envious of what others have. If God gave it to them, then I want them to enjoy it.”
The Word says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have” (Heb. 13:5, NKJV). I believe God tests us to see if we will live by this verse.
There are times when He will put somebody in front of us who has exactly what we want–just to see how we will respond. Until we can pass His “I am happy for you because you are blessed” test, we are never going to have any more than what we have right now.
If you have asked God for something He has not given you, rest assured that He is not holding out on you. It may be that it is not His will, or it is not His time–or it may be that there is something better He wants to give you, but you are not yet ready for it.
Whatever the reason, it is never because He doesn’t want you to be blessed. God wants us to prosper in every way. He wants people to see His goodness and how well He takes care of us. But we must desire God more than we desire His blessings.
We tend to pray all kinds of spiritual-sounding prayers such as: “Oh, God, I want to walk in love. I want to live a self-sacrificing life. I surrender everything to You. Just do with me as You will.” Then suddenly we find ourselves in a situation that is meant to develop those characteristics in us, and we wonder what is happening.
If you fight the experience or rebuke the devil and try to get away from it, it will never do you any good. To reach a higher level in your relationship with God, you must pass the test.
The Bible teaches us to be content no matter what our circumstances may be. The apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am” (Phil. 4:11, The Amplified Bible).
Contentment is a decision to be happy with what you already have. One dictionary defines the word content as “rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaining, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.”
We usually learn to be content by living discontented lives for a long time and then finally saying: “Lord, I don’t want to live this way any longer. Getting this thing or having that thing is not worth it.
“I don’t want to be miserable anymore. Just give me what You want me to have because unless You want me to have it, I don’t want it.
“From now on I’m not going to compare myself with anyone else. I’m not going to be jealous or envious of anyone. I don’t want what anyone else has. Lord, I want only what You want me to have.”
Choosing to be content every day will be a great benefit and blessing to you. Contentment is worth more than all the material possessions you could possibly accumulate in a lifetime. Nothing you have or will obtain is worth anything if you are not satisfied inside.
Paul made this clear when he wrote in 1 Timothy 6:6, “[And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.”
What is sure to make us unhappy? Seeing something we want and trying to get it for ourselves instead of trusting God to do what needs to be done in our lives. Saying to God, “Lord, I want only what You want me to have,” is the only way to peace and lasting happiness.
Joyce Meyer is an internationally recognized minister and author of 58 books, including the best sellers Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind (Warner Faith), and her most recent, Seven Things That Steal Your Joy: Overcoming the Obstacles to Your Happiness (Warner Faith, 2004). She is the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide.