When We’re Discontent…

This blog is more for myself than anyone else. Yet, I want to share my heart in this matter because someone else might benefit from it as well. A word that God keeps teaching me lately is discontentment. The definition for discontent is “having a lack of contentment or dissatisfaction with one’s circumstances.” Raise your hand if you have ever been dissatisfied with the circumstances you were in. Mine is raised for sure! We can be in situations and not like what we’re going through. However, if discontentment starts to take root in our hearts, it will be sown into all areas of our lives and produce weeds of bitterness, envy, jealousy, anger, entitlement, etc. It is a dangerous thing to let discontentment breed in our hearts because that’s where our words, actions, and attitudes come from. Not to mention that this is a playground for Satan! He would love nothing more than for us to wallow in our discontentment and make us feel as though we “deserve” more than what we have right now. There have been many circumstances in which I haven’t been satisfied or content and instead of nipping it in the bud, I let the discontentment fester and become a stumbling block in my life. And Satan jumped right on that and made it 10 times worse.

Tuesday night’s bible study was a great lesson on this subject and in Numbers 16 (go read it), there’s a great example of what happens when discontentment takes root. After disobeying God and not taking the promised land, God told the Israelites that they would wander the wilderness for 40 years until the unbelieving generation had died off. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram did not like this plan. They were Levites that had been given a job of ministering to the Lord by putting up and taking down the tabernacle. Apparently, Korah didn’t like what God called him to do so he accused Moses of exalting himself above the people, or making himself their leader. But it was God who appointed Moses to that position, not Moses! Korah had let discontentment take root in his heart and from that came jealousy, bitterness, and entitlement.He basically didn’t think that Moses’ leadership was good enough to lead the people anymore so he wanted to take the position away from him. Korah’s discontentment lead to him rebelling not only against the leadership but against God. Korah thought he deserved something more than what was given to him and he lead others down that same path.

So Korah rebels, and what happens? He gets his way and becomes the leader of the Israelites? Think again! He was swallowed up by the earth and taken to Sheol (the place of the dead). Yes, in Numbers 16:31-32 it says that when Moses stopped speaking, the earth split apart and swallowed up Korah and his family and those who took his side. Take caution here – discontentment will swallow us up and take us under if we aren’t careful! It can take us into our own Sheol – a place of darkness and spiritual defeat.

Discontentment not only affects us personally but it affects the people in our sphere of influence. You would think that after the people saw what happened to Korah that they would have learned a lesson, but no! In Numbers 16:41-50, the people begin to grumble against the Lord and start to rebel as well! And what did the Lord do? He sent a plague to upon the people – but Aaron went and interceded for them so not all the people died from the plague. Discontentment spreads like a plague! Once somebody is discontent with their circumstances, it will cause someone else to not be content and it will spread like a contagious sickness. That’s why God had to deal radically with the Israelites. It’s not because He’s a mean, angry God, but it’s because he knows that if the sin isn’t taken care of immediately, it will spread to the rest of the people – and that’s not His best for His people!

But praise the Lord, there is hope for the discontented heart! We don’t have to let our circumstances make us feel unsatisfied but we can learn to push through them and be content in every situation. The Apostle Paul gives us the secret to living a life of contentment: “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:11-13) You see, the secret is not to have enough willpower or self-control to do it ourselves, because we will fail. The secret is to let Jesus Christ be our strength in all that He has called us to do. In whatever situation He has placed us in or whatever circumstances He allows us to go through, we can be content because of His strength. The strength of the Lord will keep us content because we are not letting circumstances define or change us. The point is to serve the Lord where He has placed us, for we are the salt and light right where we are. Jon Courson says “whether you’re a banker, baker, mechanic or cook, yours is an important calling because of the need for brothers and sisters to serve in all kinds of areas and locations. Don’t think you’re missing God’s best if you’re not a missionary. If the Lord wants you selling insurance or pouring cement, be at peace about it and say ‘Lord if this is what you have for me, I’ll do it for Your glory.'”

Exodus 16:8 says that when we grumble, we are grumbling against the Lord. So we have to ask ourselves, “am I grumbling because I’m becoming discontent in an area of my life? Are there situations and circumstances in my job, marriage, finances, etc. that are causing me to be dissatisfied?”  The next time we find ourselves grumbling, let us ask God to search our hearts and test it for wrong motives (Psalm 139:23).  He has placed us where we are for “such a time as this.”(Esther 4:14) We can either let discontentment take over and sow seeds of strife or we can ask the Lord to strengthen us to be content and find your joy in Him.

Contentment comes when we surrender our discontentment and dissatisfaction to Him and allow Him to use us right where we are. For we can do all things, being content with little or with much, through Christ who gives us strength. Amen.