The captivity of discontent

Restless, aching hearts. Empty lives. Impatient, unhappy, angry people. Always searching, never finding. Always hungry, never full.

Discontent: the root of so many human ills, so much conflict, so much failure. An almost universal captivity. A shackle worn by virtually all God’s lost children. A short chain that keeps many believers from joining the miraculous, revolutionary movement of God’s spirit.

A discontented believer can proclaim freedom to no one, no more than one prisoner can liberate another. Discontent makes a lie of our testimony about freedom in Christ. Discontent makes us useless to God, who looks for hearts that belong completely to him.

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How well we know the feeling of discontent. Even many believers suffer from the deep churnings of dissatisfaction. Unhappy with our lot, we are disappointed life’s rewards haven’t matched our earnest efforts to please God.

The discontented believer is easily fooled by the Enemy’s schemes. Each discontent marks a chink in our armor. The Enemy chooses temptations that match our dissatisfactions. The unsuspecting soldier lets his guard down. The voice in his ear whispers: “Go ahead. You deserve it.” His aching heart and growling stomach agree, and he discovers too late the trap that takes him prisoner.

Each believer must be alert to the stirrings of discontent in his heart and stop them before they destroy his life and witness. Begin by understanding that the root of discontent is disappointment. When expectations and hopes and dreams are not met, disappointment can turn a heart away from God. We do not get what we want and think we deserve better than what we have.

Such disappointment rises in a proud and ungrateful heart. What other kind of heart can possibly think it deserves better than what God has granted? What does any of us deserve? How can we not breathe a prayer of thanksgiving just for the privilege of seeing another sunrise, not to mention Jesus’ sacrifice and the precious gift of eternal life? To be disappointed with God’s provision and dissatisfied with the path he has chosen is the height of ingratitude.

Yet we are discontented. We aren’t getting what we want. We don’t dare ask God because we want the wrong things. Our hearts are not set on the Kingdom. Like Ananias, a veneer of kingdom concern masks our yearnings for worldly gain. Like Judas, we are not content to wait on God’s timing and so we take the Kingdom into our own hands. In the end, discontent leads to failure and leaves us open to God’s judgment.

Deliverance from discontent begins with the temptations and failures that the Enemy consistently uses against you. Use those temptations to locate your points of discontent, which in turn will reveal the disappointments, misplaced priorities, ingratitudes and pride issues that stand between you and God.

Deliverance comes when you confess your proud, ungrateful heart to God and seek his forgiveness. Freedom follows when you get a fresh vision of who God is and of your own unworthiness, when you see how you have hurt him with your selfishness and understand what he has done for you in spite of it. A broken heart, touched by God’s unmerited love, is a grateful heart one God can smile upon and use.

A contented heart rejoices in God’s blessings and knows a loving father has chosen its circumstances. A contented heart learns its lessons patiently, waiting on God and his invitation to join him in his work. A contented heart rises above temptation and draws others to Christ by the simple demonstration of genuine freedom. We have much for which we can be grateful. God in his mercy has spared us the judgment we deserve. Our loving father did not withhold his only son to redeem us from slavery. The grace of God enriches and strengthens us for the work to which he has called us. Knowing the faithfulness of God gives us hope for today and eternity, where we will receive the inheritance he has set aside for his children.

Be satisfied with the work and possessions God has given you. Be content with your spouse or your singleness as the generous gift of God. Accept your physical appearance and station in life, even your hardships and trials. Set your mind and heart on the Kingdom and seek it first. Leave your circumstances to your loving father.

There is, however, a place for discontent. Be unhappy with the things that distract you from the Kingdom. Be dissatisfied with the amount of time you spend seeking God. Be displeased with injustice and the oppression of God’s lost children. Be discontented with the lostness of God’s wayward children.

Discovering contentment in Christ protects you from the Enemy’s attack and frees you to serve God gladly. When your discontents match the Father’s, God is free to use you the way he wants to advance the Kingdom.

Be grateful!

Copyright © 2006, Kainos Press All Rights Reserved


About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
This entry was posted in Christian life. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The captivity of discontent

  1. Pingback: How to survive this hardship | kainos

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