Content or Contentious?

For months we were focused on settling into a house. We had moved cross-country and temporarily resided with family to accommodate the move. While that was enjoyable overall, the desire for a home of our own remained. Once we got a house, we figured, we would then be content.

We got the house and it truly exceeded our expectations. The home we were provided was evidence of His faithfulness as well as His abundance. We could point to the circumstances leading us to our home and know that God had led us to a place of His blessing.

Still, in our first week in the new home Julie and I admitted to each other that we were individually struggling with contentment. There is a need for all the little things; some window treatments, getting boxing unpacked, etc. The fact that we lacked contentment, now postponed by setting up the new house which had been the block to contentment previously, caught my attention.

I looked to the Word to consider what was eternally True about being content. I did a word search of the word “content” and found that it does not appear at all in the Old Testament, it is only found in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the search for “content” only turns related words such as “contention” or “contentious.” Drilling into those words further, they end up at primitive roots related to striving.

The New Testament contains the idea of being content with wages, circumstances, weakness and possessions. The word for contentment is derived from the idea of unfailing strength. Strength leads to contentment.

Adam fell through sin and resulting in a curse (consequence) that brought about striving to produce. That striving is the root for contention and the contention is with God. We stand against God to accuse Him of not coming through for us. We stand defiantly  like Job to demand more. In effect, we bring suit against Him.

Jesus, the second Adam, undid what had been done and restored what had been lost. He replaced the curse with blessing. The blessing is sufficient and it is in place of the striving. We lay down our accusations and in our weakness of admitting that our striving can’t produce what we think we want, we are content through Jesus. It is a position of receiving, not producing.

That kind of trust only comes through giving up and allowing the benefits of the Cross to extend to our lives. The resulting contentment postures us perfectly for receiving. The difference is that then it won’t matter other than as a testimony to the faithfulness of the Provider.

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