Contentment: The fever

The fever

One of the most powerful lessons in Scripture after the gospel message is that Christ is enough. Time and again we are reminded that God is our provider and that His provision is sufficient to meet our needs. Yet most of us, if we’re honest, have to confess that we live lives of general discontentment. It’s true that sometimes our discontentment is focused on one specific thing: house, car, spouse, paycheck, job. But more often, we just have a general discontentment, like a low-grade fever. And we’re walking around with this fever, functioning at a level below our best, less than the abundant life God has planned for us.

For me, I can look you straight in the eyes and tell you without flinching that I am thrilled with my amazing wife and kids, I have the most exciting job I could imagine, and for a big city, San Diego is pretty good living. Where I struggle is with my house. You see, I grew up in upstate New York where the average size of a home is over 2,500 square feet and yards are on quarter acre lots. You can buy a 3,000-square-foot house built in the 2000s on an acre lot for $250,000. I also lived in Idaho for a decade. Our home there was 2,500 square feet and sat on a fourth of an acre. We paid less than $100,000 for that house. Then the Lord moved us to San Diego, in the early 2000s no less, where small fixer-upper homes on 1/8th acre were running around half a million dollars. Really Lord? Are you sure this is the plan?

I am quite content with my career at the university and my family life is wonderful. I am thrilled to have my 2001 Ford Ranger with 125,000 miles on it to commute to campus and haul a little lumber or demolition debris. But I struggle with this house. At just under 1,500 square feet, it feels like a tight fit for five of us. And it is in need of constant repair. I recently told my wife that when I finish the current job on my to-do list, replacing all of the baseboards in the house, I am taking a break for a year – no more house projects that aren’t urgently necessary. I don’t grumble about too much, but I grumble about this house.

But by stewing on this point of discontentment I am really doing two things. First, I am suffering with a low-grade fever that I don’t have to suffer through. I am actually choosing to carry around this illness, this infection, when I have been given the authority and the power to choose to be healthy. Second, I am expressing to the Provider that it’s not enough, that He missed the mark or isn’t doing His job. What an arrogant and dangerous thing to tell the King of the universe that He hasn’t given you all you need!

The writer of Hebrews knew the hearts of men when he wrote, “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. Assurance of God’s presence is what we need, not more money or a bigger house or more stuff.

Over the next couple of weeks we will explore this topic of contentment and test our hearts to see if we have the fever, or if we are living in the assurance of God’s presence and provision.

Questions for thought

Do you have the fever of discontentment? What signs do you see in your life that tell you one way or the other?

In what areas of life are you content, and in what areas are you discontent? List them out and pray about them. Consider your family life, house, vehicle, recreation, career, income, friends, clothing, outdoor gear and other toys…

How would your life look if you surrendered to God’s provision, fully accepting what He has provided for you without entertaining thoughts of discontentment?

Prayer

Jehova Jireh, God Provider, help us to see your provision in our lives and to live not only contentedly but also gratefully. Lord, your provision for us is perfect and is ideally suited for your plan for our lives. Holy Spirit, we invite you to search our hearts and show us any signs of fever. Walk with us as we explore our hearts and your great provision, and show us where we may be dishonoring you. Bring us contentment and healing, and the peace of your continuous presence in our lives. In the name of Jesus, your greatest provision. Amen.

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About Dave Cummings

Dave Cummings is a husband, father of three, college professor, biologist, and urban outdoorsman. Most importantly, he is a Christ follower.
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