Apostle Paul had the spirit of contentment. Paul revealed that God had instructed him to have the spirit and attitude of contentment. He had received a command from the Lord to be content in every circumstance.
“… I AM INSTRUCTED both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
To be content means to be stable, happy and satisfied with your circumstances. God's command to us is to have a spirit of contentment. Amazingly, many people today do not have that attitude. They are not happy with what they have. Many people are full of discontentment. Fight the spirit of discontentment with all your strength. It is dangerous for you! I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and VEXATION of spirit.
The works that are done under the sun are the works of the world. They all yield vanities and vexation of spirit. The word vexation is a Hebrew word 'reut' which means grasping, longing and striving. Can't you see that our lives are filled with searching, grasping, and striving for things we will never attain? Everybody wants a bigger house, more money, more land, more cars, more women, more men and more love.
You either have the spirit of contentment or the spirit of the world! When you have the spirit of the world, you are full of grasping desires for what everyone else has. How can you be content when you are filled with grasping, longing and striving for the things in this world? If you see someone having something you must also have it. It is this spirit of comparison and competitiveness that opens the door for the demons of the world to flood into your soul. The spirit of the world is described clearly in the Bible.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). How can you work for the Lord when you are following the burning desires of your eyes and your flesh?
Discontentment is what caused the kings of Israel to fall into error. God warned them not to go grasping after many extra things. Similarly, God is warning pastors and ministers of the gospel not to seek to multiply worldly things unto our lives.
But HE SHALL NOT MULTIPLY HORSES TO HIMSELF, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. NEITHER SHALL HE MULTIPLY WIVES TO HIMSELF that his heart turn not away: NEITHER SHALL HE GREATLY MULTIPLY TO HIMSELF SILVER AND GOLD.
When you have the spirit of contentment, the desire for all these things goes and your love is turned towards the Lord. Then you set your affection on things above and desire the will of God and the presence of God more than anything else. With the spirit of contentment, you are then happy to get along with whatever basic things are available.
There is always something you do not have and you must be careful when you go out seeking for things you do not have. Discontentment is dangerous because it makes you reach out for things God has withheld from you. Do you know that God withholds certain things from you? God may have withheld riches from you but given you a faithful husband. He may have withheld an international ministry from you but given you a great national ministry. You don't have to add to the following list of discontented people.
a. Adam was given ten thousand million trees but God withheld the tree of life. He reached out for the tree of life and he lost his place in the Garden of Eden.
b. Ahab was given Israel but he was not given Naboth's vineyard. He reached out for Naboth's vineyard and he lost his kingship.
c. David was given lots of women but was not given Bathsheba. He reached out to take Bathsheba and he lost his peace.
d. Absalom was given the right to be a prince and an important person but was not given the kingdom. He reached out for the kingdom and lost his life.
e. Gehazi was given the privilege of becoming Elijah's successor. He reached out to get some money and clothes and lost his ministry.
Discontentment is an open door for Satan to tempt you. God has chosen to give you certain things and has also chosen to withhold certain things from you. Fight discontentment with all your strength. Enjoy the blessings that surround you as a leader! Use your blessings as tools to do well! May you be a leader who exudes contentment!
By Dag Heward-Mills