Overcoming Sin through Christ: Discontentment

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Discontentment

Are you content with what you presently have, or do you feel a resentment against God for not giving you what you want?  Are we always looking for bigger things, more things, greater things, and more luxurious things?  Are you discontent with your job, your appearance, your physical limitations, and even the weather?  If we can’t obtain what we want, do we feel dissatisfied, angry and bitter? 

Advertisers know how to exploit the human tendency to be dissatisfied with our present conditions.  Look at the sale brochure that glorifies the good prices available for the new products that the supermarket carries.  They want the public to rush to the aisles and purchase what they don’t need in order to try to satisfy the insatiable desire for more.

The root Greek word for discontentment is arkeo, meaning “to be enough” or “to be sufficient.”  It involves an attitude “that lets us be satisfied with whatever is available.”[1]  It signifies “to be sufficient, to be possessed of sufficient strength, to be strong, to be enough for a thing,” and in the middle voice, “to be satisfied, contented with.”[2]  Autarkeia means “satisfaction with one’s lot.”[3]  Scripture says that we are to be content with our wages (Luke 3:14), content with food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8), with money and possessions (Hebrews 13:5). 

Paul wrote of his own experience with contentment: “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11).  At this very time, and for a total of about two years, the apostle was confined to his own rented quarters, chained to a Roman guard (Acts 28:30; Philippians 1:13-14).  He might have longed for his freedom and better living conditions, but he wouldn’t allow this to bring a bitter spirit to his soul or a complaining attitude to his lips.  He was content with what God brought to his life for Christ’s sake.  He had “learned” this spiritual quality and we need to learn it also. 

Paul knew that if he had the barest necessities, he had sufficient, and could rely on God for the rest.  He explained: “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 6:6-8).

One key to contentment is the realization that God providentially cares for His own children.  Whatever God wants for us, He will provide.  And if He doesn’t provide what we would like, we know that God still loves us and cares for us and will do all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).  The Hebrew writer said that we are to be “content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you’” (13:5). 

If God is with us and won’t forsake us, we can be content with what He provides.  He is a caring Heavenly Father and will make sure we have what will be for His glory—even when He may not give food, clothing, housing, a job, healing, friends, or brothers.  Still we know that He does all things well and perfect.

Scripture doesn’t condemn the desire to improve our situation in life.  Contentment is “a settled disposition to regard God’s gifts as sufficient, and his assignments as appropriate.  It is, in short, an acceptance of one’s lot in life. . . . Christian contentment is not a resting in the status quo.  It is not, as is the spurious ‘contentment’ of the Buddhist, the result of suppressing all desire; nor is it a stoic apathy rooted in supine resignation to an impersonal and unalterable fate.  It does not exclude aspiration and a concern or improvement.”[4]  “Contentment is opposed to petulance, self-rejection, despair, and panic on the one hand, and vaulting ambition on the other.”[5]

The sin of discontentment says that we want more than what we have and we are resentful and angry with God when He doesn’t provide.  Maybe we have a tendency to have a bad attitude toward God when we succumb to a terrible sickness or disease and God doesn’t heal it.  Or maybe we don’t have the finances to seek professional medical treatment.  Satan wants us to feel abandoned and disheartened.  Will we trust God to work even in our desperate situations of life for our spiritual good and His glory? 

Years ago, I lost much of my income as well as the rent house in which I was living.  I had to put my Christian library and supplies in storage then had nowhere to live other than sleep overnight at work—which I had to do for over four years.  Although this was a utterly difficult time of my life, I clung closely to God and trusted that He had a purpose in this inexplicable trial and perplexing hardship.  He had not deserted me (Hebrews 13:5-6).  Although I wrestled with discontent, I sought to trust in a God and Father who does all things well, for my good and His glory.



[1] Richards, Expository Dictionary.

[2] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.

[3] The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible.

[4] Encyclopedia of the Bible.

[5] Ibid.

 

 

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