Learning to be Content

 

 

Learning to be Content: Lessons from Genesis | Satisfaction Through Christ blog

{Cue the dramatic music} Two sisters married to the same man. One is beautiful and the man is clearly in love with her. The other does not have the man’s love, but she bears him many children. Each sister is jealous of what the other has.

Sounds like a great plot for a soap opera, movie, or novel. However, this story has not been made up by some creative mind to entertain the masses. This story took place many, many years ago and is recorded in Genesis. Over the summer, I reread this story and was struck by something I’d never really thought of before. Neither Leah nor Rachel was satisfied with what they had. They both wanted what the other sister had instead.

{Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always felt bad for Leah. Her father tricked Jacob into marrying her; Jacob got upset because he didn’t love her, he loved Rachel; and she had to spend her life in a loveless marriage overshadowed by her beautiful younger sister (who Jacob eventually also married).}

When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren -Genesis 29:31

So, here we are- Leah doesn’t have love, but has children. While Rachel has love, but no children. Yet, they both want what they don’t have.

Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”-Genesis 29:32

Each time that Leah has another child, she names him something showing that she hopes the child will win her husband’s affection. Each time this does not happen.

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister.  -Genesis 30:1

This must have been a miserable household to live in. Similarly, how miserable can our households become if we are constantly wanting what someone else has? Wanting to fall in love, get married, have children, etc. are not bad things. But when the things we want become idols in our lives, consuming us, causing us to be jealous and bitter towards others, and robbing us of our joy, these “good” things become a sin problem.

I’ve been there as I’m sure you have too. Another story in Genesis teaches these same lesson with deadlier consequences.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. -Genesis 3: 6

Here were Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a perfect place. They were without sin and pain. They had a relationship with God and God provided for all of their needs. Yet, there was just one tree in the entire garden that they were told not to eat from. To us, this probably sounds like a pretty good deal. Most of us probably feel like we could avoid one tree in order to have access to everything else and all our needs provided for. We probably find it hard to believe that Eve and Adam ate from this one tree they were forbidden to eat from when they had a whole garden full of delicious fruit trees.

Yet, how often are we just like them? We have everything we need- a safe place to live, food, clothing, etc. We probably have a lot of what we want, too. It’s not enough, though. We always want more. We always want what someone else has. We always want the latest and greatest gadget, the newer vehicle, the nicer furniture, the bigger house, the more stylish clothes, and on and on. For some people, their desires carry heavier consequences-just like Adam and Eve’s actions did.

Maybe your life hasn’t been easy. Maybe you grew up in a broken home, have been a part of (or are still a part of) an abusive relationship, battle infertility, lost a loved one too soon, dealt with (or are dealing with) major health issues, lost a job, etc. In these times, it can be easy to question God. It can be easy to get angry with God. It can be easy to wonder why so and so gets to have the perfect life and you have to struggle. Like Rachel and Leah, we are blinded to what we do have because we’re so focused on what we don’t have.

So, how do we fix this? How do we battle discontentment?

Grace.

It’s such a simple word, yet carries such a complex meaning for our lives. Grace is defined as loving-kindness, favor, or gift. Some define it as an undeserved gift. Grace is not something you earn.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9

For sin shall not be your mater, because you are not under law, but under grace. -Romans 6:14

We have different gifts according to the grace given us.- Romans 12:6

In a sermon series on Ruth pointing to Christ as the ultimate redeemer, one of the pastors at my church was stating how Boaz was not the closest of kin to Ruth. He did not have to be her kinsman redeemer, yet he was willing to marry her out of kindness, not obligation (story found in Ruth 3).  As an application, he stated some very powerful words, “God doesn’t owe us anything. What we have is his kindness.”

How do we learn to be content? By realizing that God owes us nothing. Everything we have is His grace. --Learning to be Content at Satisfaction Through Christ

This really stuck with me because I’d been battling thoughts that can be summed up as God, I’m a good person. Why do I have to go through these trials?

[Tweet “God owes us nothing. Everything we have is His grace.”]

I think when we really begin to grasp this, we begin to learn to be content. I find that a natural response to realizing God’s great grace in our lives is to be thankful. Battle discontentment with thankfulness and gratitude. Even when things seem hopeless, there is always something to be thankful for. Look for those things the next time you feel like nothing is going the way you planned. Look for things to be grateful for when you find yourself wishing you had what someone else has. Look for things to thank God for when you find yourself wanting more.

This"Grace" print from Life on a Mission contains a great verse for learning to be content{Love this verse and this print. You can get your own from Life on a Mission. I did!}

I want to close with a quote I saw on my Facebook newsfeed one day. It came from Christian rapper, Lecrae’s status. He didn’t credit it to anyone else, so I can only assume these are his own words.

“When you’re reminded that God owes you nothing, you find yourself more grateful and less entitled.” -LeCrae

[Tweet “”When you’re reminded that God owes you nothing you find yourself more grateful and less entitled.” -Lecrae”]

How do you battle discontentment in your own life?

Megan Optimized Signature

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I'm a small town girl who now lives in the big city. I've been married for 4 years now and we're expecting our first child in November. I'm a Christian saved by God's grace and I try to live out His love in my life. I love to read, craft, and spend time with loved ones.

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Comments

  1. says

    great thoughts! I always thought it would be so much better to be Rachel than Leah, and I don’t think I ever identified with how much Rachel really did want more children, so it’s interesting to me to think that they really both did want what the other had. found you through the Be.YOU.tiful link up 🙂

  2. Super[Wo]man says

    I love this so very much! Perfect timing for my life too! Needless to say, I was so happy to see this on Turn It Up Tuesday! So happy that you shared this with me and my lovely co-hosts! Make sure you come back for more fun this week! Can’t wait to see what else you’ve got up your sleeve! xChels
    http://mommieandwee.org/tag/wuw/

  3. says

    Hi Megan, I am stopping by from Soul Survival link up. I loved reading your post! Being content is so challenging but I have learned not to want what others have because I don’t know what they did or have to do to keep it. deloracares.blogspot.com

  4. says

    A thoughtful and thought-provoking post – thank you! I will be thinking on recognizing and appreciating all that I DO have, and being thankful for all things. God bless!

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