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Maybe You’re Not as Content as You Think You Are

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Truly contented Christians know that they find genuine happiness in a relationship with Christ.

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Many Christians today are unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives. We live in relative material ease yet we work to accumulate even more possessions. We cram our schedules full of activities as though busyness were the key to contentment. In the first of three articles on godly contentment, Dr. Don Dunlap reminds us if we want to be truly contented, we must realize the truth that we find real happiness, joy and satisfaction only in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Webster defines contentment as “the state of being satisfied and easy in mind.” Many Christians today are very uneasy and dissatisfied. The majority of us live lives of relative material ease, yet we work hard to accumulate even more possessions. Our job is adequate to meet our family’s needs, but we feel certain life would be easier if we could only get that promotion we’ve been hoping for. Our used car gets us where we want to go, but we’d rather have a new minivan. We get along with our spouse fairly well, but we’d probably be happier together if we lived in a bigger house, in a more upscale neighborhood. Our neighbors are all tolerably pleasant, but there is one irritating family down the street that doesn’t mow their lawn often enough. We like our church, but the Music Minister really gets on our nerves.

We often make the mistake of wanting to be instantly gratified, rather than learning to be satisfied.

We are discontented with our lives. The words of 1 Timothy 6:6-8 are worthy of consideration,

But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

We do not achieve contentment by filling every waking moment with activities.


Few of us seem to be content with food and clothing alone. We cram our schedules full of activities as though “busyness” were the key to contentment. Then we complain of never having enough time, or of feeling chronically tired, anxious or depressed. When someone greets us casually with, “Hi, how are you?” we are often quick to reply, “Stressed out!”


Discontentment is a sin. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 the Apostle Paul exhorts us,

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Since it is impossible to complain and rejoice at the same time, we must disobey God in order to register our dissatisfaction about a given situation. The writer of Philippians 2:14 exhorts us,

Do everything without complaining or arguing.

We should consider the fact that Paul wrote this book at a time when he was in prison. For thirty years, he had been beaten, stoned and persecuted by mobs. Yet, he was overflowing with joy in spite of his circumstances. The secret of his joy was his unceasing prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for all that He had done in his life.

God intends for His children to find contentment in their relationship with Him.

In Psalm 90, Moses contrasts the eternity of God with the brevity of man’s life. We find a beautiful prayer for contentment in verses 14 and 15:

O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad as many days as You have afflicted us.


In other words, we accept everything from God’s hand—joy and hardship, ease and suffering, health and affliction. Through it all we will say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”


Truly contented Christians knows that real happiness, joy, and satisfaction can only be found in their relationship with Jesus Christ. They do not search for contentment in possessions, social status, relationships, or in the fleeting security of a job. They trust in Christ alone for their fulfillment in life.

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