Christians are supposed to be the most contented people in the world. They have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). God has promised that He “will meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). These truths should make every follower of Christ grateful and satisfied.
Sadly, it is not always true. Many Christians still live unhappy and discontented lives. Many are still complaining and craving for more than what God has given them already. A believing husband may still lust for another woman in spite of the fact that she has a good-looking wife. Or he may be hoping for a better paying job although he’s already earning more than what his family needs.
A wife may subtly force his husband to find for that second job or sideline for extra income in order to buy a new car or to be able to move to a bigger house in a more affluent neighborhood. Children may still complain and grumble, even disrespect their parents, despite the fact that everything they want is well-provided by their father or mother.
Grumblers and gripers are the most unhappy bunch. They could be the hardest people to please and love. And one can find them everywhere – at the busy mall or at the airport check-in counter, in a board meeting or a court hearing, on the street or along the expressway, in social clubs and even inside the church. Yes, they can show up even in the Christian home.
There’s no cure for such greed coupled with complaining except the gospel of Christ. “Contentment,” says Ajith Fernando, “is a key accompaniment to godliness, and Paul says that the combination of the two is a great gain (1 Tim. 6:6). Writing from prison, Paul says, ‘Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content’ (Phil. 4:11). John the Baptist told the soldiers who came to him, ‘Be content with your wages'” (Luke 3:14).
Two sure signs of true conversion in Christ are contentment with grateful attitude and the ability to overcome the desire to be ruled over by money. “Hebrews 13:5 gives the key to contentment,” continues Ajith Fernando. “‘Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ We must constantly be aware that we can love the things of the world too much. When we rid ourselves of the love of money, we have taken an important step in the path to a contented life.”
Those thoughts are powerful and to the point. But Fernando did not end there. He adds, “But this text [Hebrews 13:5] says that the key is the fact that Jesus is with us. He satisfies our deep yearnings. If he has taken the craving for the world from our lives and filled us with a craving for him, we are contented people. So the next verse says, ‘So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’ (Heb. 13:6)” (Ajith Fernando, “The Family Life of a Christian Leader” [OMF: Manila, 2018], 44-45).
Vic Bernales is an ordained minister in the Pearl of the Orient Covenant Reformed Church. He pastors the Davao Covenant Reformed Church in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his Master of Divinity at Mid-America Reformed Seminary at Dyer, Indiana, U.S.A.