New Hope Notes
Words Of Discontent
Me And My Big Mouth
Pastor Elwin Ahu
We’re never satisfied no matter what we have. No matter how much we have, we always want more. This goes all the way back to the beginning of time when we were created. In the Garden of Eden, Adam was lonely so God told Adam that He would make “woman”. “What is a woman?” asked Adam. God responded, “She is someone who will cook for you and clean for you. She will do your laundry and always make sure dinner is on the table when you get home from work. She will never argue with you and will be the first to admit that she’s wrong if there’s ever a disagreement. She will bear your children and raise them at home while you’re out golfing with your friends. She will rub your feet when you’re tired and never have to go through menopause. She will love you and respect you through all the days of your life!” “Wow! That’s great,” Adam responded. “How much will that cost me?” he asked? “An arm and a leg,” God responded. “Well how much can I get for rib?” Adam asked. And the rest is history!
Okay, that’s a joke but we do see signs of discontentment going as far back as the Garden of Eden. When Eve was in the Garden and the serpent told her to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Eve knew that she was not supposed to yet when the serpent told her that she would surely not die from eating of the fruit and that it would make her like God, she ate. Why? Why did she eat the fruit? Because she wasn’t satisfied with the way that God had created her.
God is warning us: the seed of discontent is so dangerous. This is what James has to say, “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” (James -16).
James tells us that every evil thing pops out of jealousy and selfish ambition. But he also warns us not to be so arrogant as to try to deny the truth: that we are all discontent at some point or another. Don’t try to lie against the truth. We were designed that way, and wired that way. Rather than try to deny it, just admit it and instead learn how to control or manage your discontentment.
And let’s read what Galatians says, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the
It says, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the
How content we are with the different facets of our lives? It’s important to know what drives our discontent because if we’re discontent and we don’t know how to control it, it will revert to harsh words and then eventually actions. So what drives us towards discontent?
1. UNMET EXPECTATIONS.
I’ve witnessed more break-ups of businesses, partnerships, relationships, and marriages than anything else because people have felt that certain of their expectations were not met and that they’ve been failed as time has carried on. There’s nothing wrong with setting up your goals and plans but how do you react when reality meets up with your expectations and they don’t match? When circumstances change around you, how do you adjust to that?
You know, every 30 seconds a new lawsuit is filed. What is the basis of that? Unmet expectations, broken promises, shattered dreams. We may not get to the point of filing a lawsuit but we’ll often blame someone else for our unmet expectations. We’ll justify and rationalize every reason why this thing is not our fault.
It’s dangerous when we blame others for our unmet expectations. When we blame somebody else, it may not be that other person’s fault. James 4 addresses that:
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3)
What James is saying is that when you meet up with reality, it may not be the other person – it may just be you having to sit and reassess what is going on. It may require that you adjust your expectations. Contentment is a learned process, a learned discipline. It is a choice that we make. This lesson was written by Paul when he was in prison:
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philipians 4:11-13)
Every single day, Paul had to choose that God was alive and active in his circumstance. You see, contentment is a choice. But what often stands in the way of this?
2. UNREALISTIC (OR UNCONTROLLABLE) CRAVINGS.
For those of you who have been at
It’s the same with wanting things in life: The more have, the more we want. It could be stuff, or recognition, more power or authority, or a position. On the other hand, the less we have, the less we crave. The more we have, the more we want – and that gets dangerous when our cravings start to turn into a sense of entitlement.
The more you crave happiness in a box (e.g., a Happy Meal when you’re a child and a 52” wide screen plasma TV when we’re older), the less content you’ll feel. Craving for more will never bring you contentment. In fact, Hebrews says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
If you’re looking for more stuff, more power, or more recognition, you’ll never be satisfied. And look at it this way, why pursue that stuff when you can’t take it with you anyway? 1 Timothy says this, “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:6).
Don’t make food, your job, marriage, or money your source of contentment in your life. Your contentment must come through Jesus Christ and Him alone. But you must make that choice because if you don’t, the world will make it for you. Through all of it marketing efforts and pressures, the world will try to determine your contentment (or more likely discontentment) but you need to hold firm in your contentment through Christ. Then lastly, perhaps the most difficult driver of discontent:
3. UNRESOLVED INSECURITY.
When you have unresolved insecurities (e.g., a feeling that you are not important, that your parents aren’t proud of you, or you’re not getting the attention and respect that you deserve), you begin to redefine who you are based on what you can get out of someone or something because of this need to fill an emptiness in you.
For example, I come from a family of four children where I had two brothers, a sister, and myself. When I was growing up, when my older brother was interested in birds, my dad built him a pidgeon coop and I got stuck cleaning it out all the time. When my brother was into fish, my dad built him a koi pond to raise fish. My other brother was into baseball and my father would go to every game. And when my brother would come home from hard practices, my dad would give him a rub him down to help him relax and recuperate. I watched all of this when I was growing up but none of my dad’s attention ever seemed to come my way.
When I was in school, I was on the volleyball team but I had to ride my bike to practice. My father never came to my practices or my games for that matter. And even when I was really good and would travel and win trophies, when I brought them home and paraded them in the house, my dad never said a word to me.
My observations of the relationship my brothers had with my dad and the fact that my dad never seemed to direct any of his attention my way made me try harder and harder to gain his recognition. Even when I got my law degree and eventual appointment as a judge, my father didn’t attend the ceremony.
When I couldn’t get my father’s attention, I started looking around at other things and other people to get that recognition and respect. It really wasn’t until I came to Christ that I realize that my identity was not based on what I could get from my dad but that my worth is from God. And it was only after I realized and accepted that my contentment comes through Jesus Christ, and not my father, that I also realized that I needed to love my dad that way that God loved him.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
I know that you love me God. I know that I am special and made perfectly in your eyes. I know that I can stand here fully secure knowing that Christ loves me. I am content.
Dads and Moms, you need to say these things to your child, “I love you. I’m so proud of you. You are so good at (fill in the blank).” You need to ensure that they know that they are loved; otherwise, it allows the seeds of insecurity – and therefore discontent – to be planted in their heart if they are insecure. That’s what the Heavenly Father said to His Son: “This is my Son (I love you) in whom I am well pleased (I’m proud of you). Listen to Him (He’s good).”
Contentment is not some elusive ideology. It is attainable but it’s going to cause us to have to reassess in times when we are not having our expectations met, to control our cravings – be careful what you’re craving for, and weed out that seed of insecurity. And when we do, the people on the outside are going to say, “That is a church of contentment. I want to be a part of that church!”
1. What kind of unmet expectations are you struggling with today and how do they affect you (and indirectly those around you)?
2. What cravings do you have? How do they manifest themselves?
3. What actions can you take to cash in your cravings for a contentment through Christ?
4. Tell of a time when someone affirmed you when others did not. How did that affect you?
5. What can you do to affirm people and help prevent the seeds of insecurity from getting planted within their life (especially children)?