Reframe Your Contentment

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Contentment is an Attitude to Embrace
Contentment is not merely a feeling, but an attitude. The word for greed in the Greek language is the pleonexia. This word translates to always wanting more. It's the opposite of contentment, and it could be for a variety of reasons, but you're never satisfied with what it is that you already have. You're always in pursuit of what that next shiny thing might be. A big reason why so many of us continue to struggle with contentment is that we don’t change how we approach our worldly possessions. If we think that contentment is a place that we will automatically arrive at in the future once we have acquired a certain amount of wealth or have attained a specific item, then we be consistently disappointed every time. We have to embrace contentment today instead of waiting for it to find us one day in the future.  Many of us are on the constant hunt to find the next item or object that we think will bring us contentment in our lives. We have to work on reining in our impulsivity and spontaneity when it comes to satisfying what our wants are at that precise moment. In Proverbs 21:5, Solomon says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” It takes some intentionality and practice, but ensuring that possessions have their proper place in our hearts and minds can make big difference in the contentment that we experience.  Reflection/Discussion Question: What type of possessions or status do you find yourself seeking in order to find contentment?
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Contentment is a Choice
Living with contentment is a choice that we must choose to make throughout our lives. We cannot control a lot of what happens to us day to day, but we can choose to live with an internal joy and knowledge that God will take care of everything as he promises in Scripture, despite what our current circumstances look like. Paul in Philippians 4 tells his readers that he has found contentment in all situations, whether a free man who is preaching the gospel to hundreds or a chained prisoner in jail, because of his relationship with Christ and who he knows Jesus to be. How many of us could honestly say that we would still be content in a jail cell after going through all the near-death experiences that Paul has gone through? Christ is the one who gives us strength to get through everything that we experience in our lives. He empowers us, through his Spirit, to do the impossible and get through what seems unbearable. Christ makes all the difference. Christ makes contentment possible because if you have Christ, you already have everything. If others can't see that, then we as Christ-followers have not done a good job of modeling what it looks like to live a life of contentment. As Christians, we need to do a better job of showing those outside the Church that Christ really is the most important part and most central part of our lives.  Reflection/Discussion Question: Describe a situation where you have be able to find contentment despite the difficulty of the circumstances?
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Contentment Can Be Learned
Oftentimes, we don't realize what we have ourselves because we get our eyes and our mindset so focused on what everybody else has. So many times, we look at what we have and what we don't have, and we play this comparison game where we either feel like we are losing or winning. But it's futile. It'll wear you out. Nothing good will come from it. 2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” In this verse, Paul is warning the Christians not to compare themselves with others. Don't go around with a measuring tape to see how much others have compared to what you have been given. If they have more, it will make you want to covet that. If they have less, you'll become proud and arrogant.  If your contentment is wrapped up in your financial portfolio, then your self-image is tied to how the stock market did that week. If your contentment is tied to your appearance, then the older you get, the worst you'll feel about yourself and who it is that God made you to be. And if your contentment is wrapped up in your home where it's tied to your job, those things are only temporary and could be gone in an instant. You have a Heavenly Father who will meet all your needs in Christ Jesus, and God blesses us in his way and in his time. Reflection/Discussion Questions: Do you struggle with comparing yourself and your life to others? What steps can you take to help combat this?