Maybe you remember being a young child and one of your parents telling you to “Eat your food! There are starving kids in the world who would love that! Be thankful for what you have!” They usually said that when we weren’t thankful for what we had. This week we consider contentment in marriage in light of the Tenth Commandment, “Do not covet…” (Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 5:21) To covet is to want someone else’s stuff, relationships, etc. instead of being satisfied with ours.
Easier said than done? Only when our view of God who gave them is not a true view or only partial.
If you’ve spent time with children, you know they’re frequently discontent. And that’s usually for one of two reasons. Generally, they define what is good as 1) having complete autonomy to decide what makes them feel better and 2) having those objects of their desires. Given the choice, many children would fill up on as much sugar, sleep, and fun activities as they wanted with zero responsibilities. But the headlines of those who can afford to fill their lives with that reveal that they aren’t content either.
The second reason any of us complain is because we focus on only part of the truth. Yes, candy is sweet and friends are fun, but both can disappoint us. God put many good things in this world, but this world is not God. Bottom line: we’re discontent when we act as if we can find ultimate joy here.
There are two basics for contentment in marriage and all areas of life: 1) to turn from trying to fill ourselves with what God hasn’t given us and 2) to delight in what He has given for a growing intimacy with God through Jesus. Whenever we think that’s like giving up tasty food for only white bread and water, we’re focusing on a very limited view of God. We need to know His glory more fully – details and nuances of His eternal and unchangeable justice, mercy, intimacy, purpose, strength, and more. Revelation 19:6-16 reminds us to know and long for Jesus as a beloved Bride longs for her Groom.
Consider the following discussion prompts and Scriptures that relate to this week’s video.
- God gives some people less and some more for each to seek, serve, and enjoy Him. (Proverbs 30:7-9, Matthew 25:14-30, Romans 12:3-8)
- Life’s highest joy and only purpose that God rewards is to follow His Son by faith in Him (Psalm 2, John 3:35-36, Acts 2:28 in context)
- In His perfect timing, God often builds the joy of His people in Him by having them wait for His protection or provision. (Genesis 18:10-15, throughout the Psalms, Isaiah
8:11-17, Jeremiah 29:10-14, Habakkuk 3, Matthew 24:3-14, John 9:1-33, 2 Peter 3:1-15, etc.)
- Coveting the pleasures of this world brings temporary happiness but eternal suffering, but being content to follow Christ leads to eternal joy (Matthew 6:19-21, Mark 8:34-38, Luke 16:19-31, etc.)
- He works through and blesses people whom the world considers unworthy to show His love, power, and purity in His sovereign grace. (Exodus 4:10-17, Acts 4:13-16, 1 Corinthians 1:20-31, etc.)
You can see other articles and the embedded videos in this series here.