Christmas morning as a child was always a morning of pure bliss and excitement due to the amount of love and gifts I was showered with. Even if gifts weren’t your thing, the food was something to get excited about! I remember sitting on the floor of my living room with my family opening that ONE gift that I so desperately wanted and finally got. Oh the joy! Never in my life have I been more overjoyed and content at the same time. You envisioned receiving that gift for months, and then you finally received it! Then all the sudden, the lights are coming down, the Christmas tree is dead, and you’re no longer as happy as you were when you received that present. Why is that?
Discontentment is an endless cycle of craving happiness and then experiencing disappointment. Our culture is never satisfied and neither are we. Sometimes, this even seeps into our relationship with Christ. Why am I always so discontent? Whether it is a consistent season for you or the endless cycle, Jesus teaches us how to truly be content in this life.
Valuing Earthly Treasures Only Brings Discontentment
We have already established how we are so dissatisfied and so discontent with what we have, even with those things that we think will bring us the most contentment (that Christmas gift). But as we look over Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus tells us in verse 19 that earthly treasures only bring discontentment because of their value. There is a strong distinction between earthly things and heavenly things. The majority of the time, those earthly things are physical and are only good for this life. Examples of this are money, a good reputation, material possessions, etc.
Discontentment is an exhausting and endless cycle that we can very quickly get stuck in because we believe the lie that these earthly things have an eternal value. A prime example of this is Saul. Saul was the man in the New Testament who was persecuting Christians but then had an encounter with God, became the best evangelist of all time, and gave up his entire life. We see his abandonment of his life and earthly things in Acts 20:24, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Before he encountered God, he had everything he could have ever wanted. But after encountering God, he knew that everything on this earth was fleeting and all he had before was not even comparable to God because HE was not fleeting.
Valuing Heavenly Treasures Always Brings Contentment
There is hope, however! Verse 20 goes on to tell us where we can find contentment: in heavenly things. The cure to break through from the exhausting cycle of discontentment is to value heavenly things above all else. Why? Because Jesus tells us in verse 20 that these things cannot be destroyed, and no one can take them away. As believers, we have hope in Jesus Christ because of what He did for us on the cross; our hope is that we will be with Him for all eternity. That promise is true even now since we have the Holy Spirit in us!
We so often fail to realize this when we fall into the trap of believing that our lives are about the things of this earth and not about Jesus. This can be evident when we value material things over our friends and family, over loving others, and over Jesus. Colossians 3:1-4 says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” But you might be thinking, what are these heavenly things? 1 Timothy 6:11-12 puts it perfectly: “But as for you, O Man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. These are the things of heaven that verse 20 says cannot be destroyed or taken away. These things will bring contentment.
Your Heart Is Consumed With Whatever You Value
So how does all of this affect our hearts? Jesus goes on in verse 21 to remind us that whatever treasure you decide to store up (earthly or heavenly), your heart will be consumed by it. If you value the things of this earth over everything else, your heart will be affected negatively with discontentment. But if you value the things of heaven above all else, your heart will be affected positively with contentment in Jesus. Your heart is ultimately what Jesus evaluates, and the content of your heart will determine everything about you. A prime example of this is the woman at the well in John 4. This woman was valuing earthly things, specifically sexual immorality. But we know she was miserable because she was searching for something greater (the Messiah). Since she didn’t have Jesus and wasn’t valuing heavenly things, her heart was consumed with discontentment because of her sexual immorality. But in this story, Jesus tells us that He is all we need, and He is enough to satisfy. As soon as this woman believed who Jesus was and knew how satisfying His love was, she immediately dropped her old lifestyle and was consumed with the contentment of Christ.
The question I am asking you is your first foundational step to your journey to contentment: how will you start valuing and pursuing the things of Heaven today? Because, I’ll be honest, it is not an easy road (Christianity as a whole is not easy), but what you do today will be key to what happens tomorrow. One of the best ways to learn contentment is to have a gratitude journal and write 5 new things you are grateful for everyday. You will be surprised at how quickly your heart will change!
Father, I know that contentment is something that You want me to have because of the value of Heaven and the great gain of being content in You. Please help me not only to believe this truth but to become more content in the blessings that You have given me. I believe that You bring true contentment, and that is what I desire today. Please restore in me the joy of my salvation and the desire to pursue the things of Heaven with passion.