How Can We Be Content?
Hebrews, Day 51
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
- Hebrews 13:4-6, ESV
Two areas of constant struggle for most adults are their marriage and their money. Getting married, going through a divorce, and having financial troubles are three of the top 5 causes of major stress in people's lives. The other two are the death of a loved one and the loss of a job. [Source]
Why are marriage and money so stressful? Because they are two places where our real theology is put to the test on a daily basis. Everyone has a real theology, a theology they possess, which is not always the same as the theology they profess. We can profess to believe in God and yet live as if He has nothing whatsoever to do with our lives. This gap between the theology we profess and the theology we possess is regularly exposed in how we handle money and how we relate to our spouses.
Hebrews 13 gives two very simple commands regarding marriage and money:
- Let marriage be held in honor and the marriage bed be undefiled.
- Keep your life free from the love of money.
Another way to express these two truths is that we need to treasure our marriage relationships as precious and not our money.
So, why do we get these things mixed up? Why are we so constantly tempted to not treasure and protect our marriage relationships as precious, and at the same time to covet and guard money as highly precious? I think the root problem in both cases - our undervaluing of marriage and our overvaluing of money - is a lack of contentment.
We are not content with the spouse God has given us, and so we are tempted to sexual immorality or lust. We are not content with the financial resources God has given us, so we horde what we have and covet what we don't have. To be satisfied with our spouses and not overly value money, we need more contentment.
But how can we be content? Should we just "count our blessings, name them one by one," as the old song says? Or is there a better way?
Hebrews 13 points us to the Lord's constant presence and help as the key. If we understand and trust that the Lord will never leave us and never forsake us, and if we can say with confidence "The Lord is my helper," this can free us from fear and make us more content. This connection between contentment and the abiding, helping presence of God contains a key insight for us: A lack of contentment is really a form of fear.
Why do we lack contentment? Because we're afraid that we're being neglected, left behind or left out. We're afraid we're going to be left lacking and suffering want, and so we're constantly looking around for what we might get for ourselves. But if we know God is always with us as our helper, it frees us from this paralyzing anxiety and this restless discontent. It gives us security and peace, knowing that God has given us our spouse and our finances as part of His constant, abiding lovingkindness to us. This frees us to receive these gifts for what they are and not try to make them our security or our identity, but to find our security and identity in God alone!
God never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He is indeed our helper. We need not be afraid. Let those truths sink deep into your heart and lead you to peace and contentment in Him alone.