The idea of Christmas can set some people up for a huge craving for more stuff. We fill our wish lists with tons of items, we hope for the latest and greatest. Receiving can become the object of our desire to fulfill the wants we have. This is called covetousness. The want for more, when God has given us plenty.
Contentment is, “realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness.”*
The opposite of contentment is covetousness.*
What Covetousness Is
We really cannot say that we are content when in our hearts we “want, want, want.” How many of us cry to God for our heart’s desires and they do not come true after praying, so we turn around and try to figure out our own way of obtaining the “prize.” God calls our covetousness lust.
James 4:3 says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
We assume many times that we have gained God’s favor when we get what we want because Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
In the Old Testament the children of Israel desired to have meat in the wilderness and cried for it continually until God gave them the desires of their heart… God sent more quail than what they knew to do with. The Bible says that while the flesh was between their teeth He let them have what they wanted. They began to be sick. Their desires backfired.
Numbers 11: 33, 34 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.
Also in the Old Testament we can think of Achan, David, Samson, and Amnon. All men with a covetous nature that brought them great heartache and problems in their lives.
The true meaning of Christmas is diluted because of rampant covetousness and forsaken contentment. If we say that God is truly all we need, then why do we flock to the stores, or feel despair when we did not get what we wanted? Does our lack of godliness reveal our discontentment?
What Contentment Is
But godliness with contentment is great gain. I Timothy 6:6
According to this verse godliness with contentment is key. Pursuing godliness should make us happy with what we have, resting in God’s omniscient ability to provide all we need and give us more than we deserve. The benefit of being content while being godly is that you have great gain.
God’s reward system is ironic in a way… The void of covetous discontentment will never be filled. People that seek for gain in a material or positional sense, are losing now and in eternity. God’s children who with a righteous heart, lose their desire for the worldly, are blessed both physically, spiritually, and mentally for now on earth and in eternity.
Be content with Christ for Christmas! True godliness will exalt Christ during the holidays we celebrate Him: Christmas Day and Resurrection Sunday.
If contentment is realizing God has given me everything I need to be happy, then I must:
- Pursue godliness. View the tiny baby in the manger scene as who He is today, the Son of God sitting on the right hand of the Father and allow Him to mold you to be like Himself. Make it your personal goal to know Him in a deeper way.
- Forsake worldly desires for temporary material possessions and quench the lusts within my heart.
- Give of the blessings I already have. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; I Timothy 6:17,18
- Acknowledge to God and others where the blessings in my life have come from. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:7
- Be grateful for any gifts I receive that are more than food and raiment. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. I Timothy 6:8
For the covetous:
- Are the desires of your heart pure? or are they for more things?
- If God were to give you the desire of your heart today, would they backfire like they did for the children of Israel?
- Are you prepared to face the fact of knowing that your current pursuits may cost you heavenly rewards?
- Is your covetousness diluting the true meaning of Christmas?
For those that desire to be content:
- How are you pursuing godliness?
- Are you truly happy with what God has already provided for you?
- Would you be willing to give of those things God has provided if He wanted you to?
- Are you willing to distribute?
- Are you using scripture to help you quench worldly and lustful desires?
- When was the last time you acknowledged to God and others about the blessings He has given you?
- Is your godliness exalting the true meaning of Christmas?
Think about what Luke said when he wrote in Acts, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
I think within the guidelines of understanding contentment you will see that receiving should not be our object of affection, it should be giving with a heart of generosity. Read here in the Christmas Character Series about Generosity.