Recent studies of the mental state of college students show that 45% of them are too depressed to function well, and 10% of those have tried or are contemplating suicide. The use of chemical drugs to bring contentment has grown at an incredible rate. The number of psychological descriptions of mental discontent has grown so large that psychologists now have labels for almost everything imaginable. Are you content with your life?
Jesus Christ lived with twelve dysfunctional, ordinary men. The followers of Christ were not highly educated or leaders in their communities. In some cases, they abruptly left their regular station in life to follow Jesus. In Luke 14:16-24, Jesus tells a parable about a man preparing a great dinner and inviting people to come. The invited people made excuses for not coming, ranging from needing to look at a recently purchased property to a guy who just got married. The twelve men who followed Jesus didn’t procrastinate and give excuses about why they couldn’t follow Him. However, they still struggled with contentment:
*The brothers James and John had their mother appeal to Jesus to give them the choice positions in His kingdom (Matthew 20:20-23).
*Peter was boisterous and competitive (John 21:20-22).
*Thomas struggled with his faith (John 20:24-28).
*Philip and Andrew were skeptical about what Jesus could do (John 6:7-9).
In Philippians 4:12, Paul stated that he had LEARNED to be content. When you read the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5-7, you see that many of His words were designed to enable His followers to find contentment. Learning not to be angry with others (Matthew 5:22-25) brings contentment. Avoiding pornographic activity (Matthew 5:27-28) and not wanting revenge but caring about others (Matthew 5:38-44) can do wonders for our mental attitude. Making prayer personal in a quiet time with God and practicing forgiveness can relieve stress (Matthew 6:6-15). Not being obsessed with making money can bring huge rewards (Matthew 6:19-21 and 25-34).
When you read about the first century Church in Acts 2:42-45, you learn that their activity led to contentment for everyone – even those who were not part of the congregation. Ephesians 3:14-21 gives a picture of contentment. God is a relational God who does not want us to be stressed. Spend some time learning to comprehend what Paul had learned. Christians should be the most contented people in the world. With the stress of life today, being content is critically important. Are you content with your life?
— John N. Clayton © 2023