Discontentment seems to be a constant of human life. I guess it can be a good thing in some cases. If we’re not satisfied with our health, we may be motivated to exercise, eat healthy foods, and so on. If we’re unhappy with our spiritual life we might begin to spend more time in bible study and prayer. If we have an inventive bent, being discontented may lead us to imagine and produce a better product. Unfortunately, most of the time being discontented doesn’t work for our good. As James put it,
“You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet, but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.” James 4:2
Think about Adam and Eve. They had everything a human being needed to be happy, but it wasn’t enough. Then came Cain and Abel — Cain killed his brother because he envied the approval Abel received from God. So, as you can see discontentment may damage our relationship with God and with others. It can quickly lead us into sin.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16
What’s the remedy? A change of focus. We need to stop looking at ourselves (what we want, what we think will make us happier) and at others (those who have something more or better than we do). We must focus on what God has given us and be thankful. We must also unselfishly rejoice in what God has given to others. If we follow the way of love described in 1 Corinthians, we’ll be content. Our relationship with God and with others will be better, our health will improve (because we’re not angry or worried) and we’ll be happier.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
For more about contentment see: