Let Us Be Therewith Content

A few weeks ago at our church's youth camp, my pastor asked four young ladies, including myself, to share a devotional/testimony with the girls attending. Of course, I was somewhat nervous speaking to all the wonderful women at the camp, but I did my best to talk (through some tears) about some things that God has placed on my heart. This post is inspired by what I said that night, with much more clarity. I always feel a bit uneasy when I write things like this, because I don't want people to assume that I have it all figured out and that I get this right all the time. Still, I hope that this post might be a help and a blessing to someone. 

To feel uneasiness, mortification or discontent, at the sight of superior excellence, reputation or happiness enjoyed by another; to repine at another's prosperity; to fret or grieve one's self at the real or supposed superiority of another, and to hate him on that account.

“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”
Proverbs 14:30

"Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,"
1 Corinthians 13:4

“Envy is the art of counting another’s blessing instead of your own.” 
–Harold Coffin

To feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another.

“Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.”
Psalm 119:36

“…for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.”
Ezekiel 33:31b

“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Luke 12:15 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” 
–Theodore Roosevelt 

 “Left alone, sin will strangle the life out of our heart and soul. It debilitates, destroys, and divides. The tighter the grip, the less we can breathe to sustain the inward and outward life.”
–from She Reads Truth by Debbie Eaton

Envying and covetousness are such important issues to God that He purposefully included them in the Ten Commandments! (See Exodus 20:17.) And while this verse at first glance seems to have limited implications for today’s young women, take a look at the last phrase: “nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” God says not to covet any thing. (That's quite the blanket statement.) We are not to covet worldly possessions, but this commandment isn't limited to physical things at all. It is expanded to include someone's talents, opportunities, and even outward appearance. Envy over appearance is something that I feel affects many young women, even those in good homes and good churches. This envy is often due to personal insecurities that are formed when we base our opinions of ourselves on the opinions and acceptance of other people instead of God. 

It seems as though covetousness is often linked to earthly glory, and this sin is a sign that worldly possessions or acclaim are too important to us. The Bible says that covetous is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). When you participate in covetousness, you are placing something or someone before God in your heart and life. Essentially, you’re telling God through your envy that the worldly possession that you desire is more important than Him. I know that it sounds ridiculous to place anything before God, but if we're honest, it is something that we all struggle with on a regular basis.  

To the girls who feel like they are "less than" due to the way they look: remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and when you are covetous of the way another person looks, you are questioning and belittling God’s creation in you. He created you exactly the way you are (including your appearance) for a reason! Granted, everyone has things that they wish they could change about themselves, and I don't think that in and of itself is necessarily wrong. However, when you become obsessive and overly critical of the way God made you, what exactly does that say to our Creator? 

In our modern world filled with images, it becomes all too easy to compare ourselves to the people we see, especially those on social media. It breaks my heart to know that young girls compare themselves to the photos of models and actresses on Instagram when these people aren't even real. Many of these pictures we see are the creation of photographers, lighting specialists, and makeup artists, not to mention retouch artists that spend hours covering every blemish. The physical features that you are idolizing probably aren't even real to begin with. You, however, are real, and God designed you with a specific purpose in mind. 

Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Hebrews 13:5

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Philippians 4:11

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, 
but the realization of how much you already have.”

Contentment is the polar opposite of covetousness and envy. Covetousness invades your heart when you are not satisfied with the incredible blessings God has bestowed upon you. Remember, as someone who is saved, you have Jesus in your heart! What else could you possibly need? Jesus gave His all for you and me, and yet somehow, we struggle to find contentment in that. He has given us everything we need, and yet we still desperately reach for the things we want. I realize that in our day and age contentment is not easy. However, think about just how much God has blessed you. Really let that sink in. Now, think about how much it breaks God’s heart when we aren’t content with these blessings. Contentment is a choice. It embodies a personal attitude of satisfaction with what God has given you---not dissatisfaction over the things (or appearance) that He hasn't. 

The solution? Be intentional in your contentment. Take the time to thank God for His blessings, both big and small, and be honest with Him when you have replaced Him on the throne of your heart. (Let's face it. It's not like you can hide anything from Him anyway.) Place your focus on God, the One who created you, blessed you, and has a wonderful plan for your life. 

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