Have you ever found yourself fighting a spirit of jealousy, envy, or maybe even covetousness?
I know, this isn’t a subject that we care to talk about. It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing to admit struggling with things that the Bible clearly warns us about. Like any sin we may be dealing with, confrontation is needed before deliverance can happen. So, let’s confront the issues.
Social media is such an incredible tool that can be used to do just about anything these days! However, what makes social media so awesome happens to be the same thing that can make it so awful. So, what’s the issue and who’s to blame? Well, it seems fair to say that the fashion influencer, size 2, mother-of-three in the brand new Pinterest-perfect farmhouse is to blame here—but the truth is, she is not.
As Christian women, we have to get to a place spiritually, where we can be confident in who God has created us to be; confident enough to be content with where He has us and with what He’s given to us, no matter how He chooses to bless someone else.
So far in my 28 years of life, the only way I’ve been able to achieve contentment has been through daily communion with God. Any and every time I’ve been slack in that area, those thoughts of discontentment start creeping in. You know the ones I’m talking about . . .
Life will be better when I graduate.
Life will be better when I get a higher paying job.
Life will be better when I get married . . . when I have children . . . when I buy the perfect home . . . when I finally go on that dream vacation . . . when I get that car, that degree, those shoes, that dress, . . . etc.
The ugly truth is that nothing on this earth will ever be enough if we aren’t content with what we have. Though there’s not necessarily an issue in wanting nicer things, we must be careful not to allow our “wants” to become covetous desires. When we’re in a constant state of longing for what we don’t have, we will inevitably lose appreciation for all that we do have. There may be no harm in simply wanting something, but wanting something simply because someone else has it will lead to trouble.
Joshua 7:20-21 says, “Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and I took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
These two passages of scripture are a perfect example of the progression of sin when it comes to being discontent. First, all Achan did was simply look.
But looking lead to coveting.
Which eventually lead to him acting upon his fleshly desires.
The very same thing happened in the Garden of Eden: Adam and Eve became discontent with paradise over one silly forbidden fruit.
The serpent knew that if he could just get them to focus on what they didn’t have, they would soon lose appreciation for all that God had already given them. Guess what folks, the devil’s tactics haven’t changed.
I can’t help but think of scrolling through social media, simply looking into other people’s highlight reels (oops, I mean “real life”). We like to think there’s no harm in just looking, right? Until, without even realizing it, someone’s staged life has us ungrateful for our real life.
Can you scroll through Instagram and celebrate the flowers that Sally’s husband brought home to her without getting angry at your husband when he walks in the door empty-handed? It sounds silly, but if we’re being honest, we could probably all admit that at some point, we’ve allowed what we’ve seen on social media to affect our mindset in a negative way.
This is one of the many reasons why I like to begin my day with prayer and devotion. I ask God to give me a pure heart, a sound mind, and to help me respond to things in a way that would please and bring Him glory. It’s difficult to be consumed with what you don’t have when your main focus is not yourself, but rather, pleasing God and loving His people. We must learn to be thankful for God’s blessings in our own lives while also rejoicing over the blessings in the lives of others.
My MIL recently did something with her plants that struck a chord in me.
She had two different plants, one of which wasn’t doing well — until she placed it beside the other. Shortly after the two plants had been situated side by side, the struggling plant finally began to grow.
I did my research, and apparently, there are all kinds of plants that grow better when planted next to a friend. Pretty cute, huh?
The point is, I’m sure we can all recall that at some point in our lives, we’ve been one or perhaps even both plants — the one who needed a little encouragement to grow and the one giving the encouragement to help someone else.
This is how we’re supposed to operate as Christian women. However, when we’re discontent with our own lives, the blessings and growth in another’s will cause us to be intimidated and jealous rather than encouraged & encouraging. Let’s do our best to keep our spirit right so we can be the kind of women who genuinely celebrate each other’s growth and beauty without feeling like our own is diminished.
Living in contentment doesn’t mean we can’t dream bigger or plan for the future; it just means choosing to be thankful in the here and now. We must be careful not to wish away the present over a mere idea of what the future could hold. It’s God’s desire that we live abundantly blessed, but in order to live in abundance, we must first possess an attitude of gratefulness for what we’ve already been blessed with.
1 Timothy 6:6 says, “But with godly contentment is great gain.”
Unlike us, God sees the whole story. He knows we’re sitting in chapter 8, maybe dreaming of chapter 12, but He has a plan. He has a process, and we have to learn to trust that process. That means not only knowing that His ways are higher, but believing it — no matter how we feel or what we see.
Life is not a race, but if we aren’t truly walking with Jesus, we will start living like it is, which will always lead to discontentment.
Scripture tells us in Proverbs: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
The best way to guarantee an established future is to commit yourself to the Lord now. If we truly believe and trust in God’s Word, then we leave no room for fear of the unknown to infiltrate our minds. Plain and simple, the Lord knows best, and it’s much easier to live a content life when you know that the He is the One ordering your steps.
You can choose to focus on what you’re lacking, or you can choose to be grateful for all that God has blessed you with. Contentment is everything.