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“Wow! Look at that her newly-remodeled kitchen!”
“Dude! Check out Jay’s awesome rig!”
“Tim and Tammy are on vacation again! I wish I could go to Hawaii!”
“I can’t believe he lost so much weight! How did he do that?”
The moment we look up from these posts of perfection, we see our worn out carpet, our scuffed up truck, our six-pack-flabs, and sink under the weight of our imperfect reality. Just when we think we’ll shiplap our house into Magnolia-magnificence, our bank balance brings us to a full stop. Our titanic aspirations just hit an iceberg.
Our life, unlike theirs, is anything but Pinterest-perfect.
All in a moment, we’ve bought into the lie of the highlight reel. The reality is far more blemished than those pixels would have us believe. What you do not see in that cropped living room is the state of the kitchen. Behind those laughing faces may lie a shattered heart. While that family may look perfect on the outside, it could be eroding on the inside. Social media only allows us to see what a person wants us to see—a perfect piece of an often messy picture.
A few thousand years ago, King Solomon of Israel wrote this:
“Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind…Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 4: 4, 6
Solomon was on to something. Most of the time, our intense efforts are driven by a desire to keep up with the Joneses. We invert our priorities, make ourselves sick, succumb to depression, and forfeit our peace in frantic attempts to measure up to what the world calls “success.”
People have been grasping for what they considered “better things” since the beginning of time.
Cain envied God’s approval of Abel’s sacrifice.
Sarah resented Hagar’s fertility.
Israel imitated other kingdoms by installing an earthly king.
David lusted for Uriah’s wife.
The Pharisees craved preeminence.
In each case, their covetousness brought catastrophe.
Cain murdered Abel.
Sarah abused Hagar.
Israel’s kings led the nation into idolatry and captivity.
David committed adultery and murder.
The Pharisees missed out on salvation.
Paul wrote to Timothy: “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
What is your desire in this life? Is your desire to be rich? Secure? Happy? Famous? Adored? Our pursuits reflect our priorities. Our aim should be to seek God first, and to love others second; all this other stuff should take a back seat. Paul says godliness with contentment is great gain, and he’s right—it’s the greatest gain. Our aims should be to shine the light of Christ, to transform our hearts, to grow closer to God. Everything else is temporary.
Pursue lasting contentment, stemming from a heart overflowing with gratitude.
Contentment is making the most of the gifts we’ve been given, not bemoaning what we’ve been denied. Contentment is the ability to find God’s blessings in any and every circumstance. Contentment is an abundance mentality, enabling us to rejoice in the good fortune of others.
So your life isn’t Pinterest-perfect. So you’ve got six-pack-flabs. So you’re car isn’t a 2018 maserati. So what? All those things will perish and fade, but a heart refined for God’s purpose will gain eternal fulfillment.
Seek godly refinement instead of worldly enrichment. Godliness with contentment is greater than all the lesser things this world has to offer.
Now read this: If you want contentment but can’t seem to find it