"FAITH IS THE VICTORY!" In Overcoming Discontent INTRODUCTION 1. I trust that as we are making our way through this series that the value of faith in Jesus is becoming ever more apparent... a. In overcoming sin b. In overcoming anxiety, boredom, depression, and despair -- I.e., "Faith Is The Victory!" in overcoming the world with its many ills - cf. 1 Jn 5:4-5 2. Another ailment that afflicts many people is "discontent"... a. It appears to be closely related to "boredom" b. Just as "anxiety" and "despair" are closely linked 3. In my study on the subject of "discontent", I found what seems to be conflicting views... a. Some describe discontent as evil: "A man's discontent is his worst evil." (George Herbert, 1593-1633) b. Others speak of it as something good: 1) "Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation." (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900) 2) "Restlessness and discontent are the necessities of progress." (Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931) 3) "Show me a thoroughly satisfied man - and I will show you a failure." (Edison) [Is it wrong to be "discontent"? Or is it necessary for progress? The problem may be one of semantics, so let's start with seeking to understand exactly what it is we are talking about...] I. UNDERSTANDING DISCONTENT A. DISCONTENT DEFINED... 1. According to the American Heritage dictionary: Absence of contentment; dissatisfaction; a restless longing for better circumstances 2. There appears to be two different kinds of "discontent"... a. "There are two kinds of discontent in this world: the discontent that works, and the discontent that wrings its hands. The first gets what it wants, and the second loses what it has." (Gordon Graham) b. It is the discontent that "wrings its hands" that we are discussing in this lesson 1) It is the absence of contentment as a result of covetousness 2) It is that dissatisfaction which is often accompanied by grumbling and complaining B. THE DANGER OF DISCONTENT... 1. It affects our relationship with God! a. When we are discontent because of covetousness, we become idolaters! - cf. Ep 5:3-5 ; Co 3:5 b. When we are discontent because of dissatisfaction with what we have, are we not being ungrateful for what God has given us? 1) "Whenever you find yourself disposed to uneasiness or murmuring at anything that is the effect of God's providence, look upon yourself as denying either the wisdom or goodness of God." (William Law, 1686-1761) 2) "Complaining about our lot in life might seem quite innocent in itself, but God takes it personally." (Erwin W. Lutzer) 2. It hurts ourselves! a. Contentment is a virtue that is highly praised and valued: 1) "He is richest who is content with the least." (Socrates) 2) "He who is content can never be ruined." (Chinese proverb) 3) "The contented man is never poor, the discontented never rich." (Unknown) 4) "...godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1 Ti 6:6 b. But discontentment hurts those who possess it: 1) "Those who want much are always much in need." (Horace, 65-8 B.C.) 2) "It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor." (Seneca, 4 B.C.-65 A.D.) -- We only make ourselves unhappy by being discontent 3. Those discontented also hurt others! a. When we are discontent, we become grumblers and complainers 1) Affecting our friends, families, and brethren 2) Ruining not only our own selves, but those closest to us b. Nothing destroys a friendship and congregation quicker than the grumbling and murmuring of those discontent 1) "Grumbling is the death of love." (Marlene Dietrich) 2) Which may be why such complaining is condemned in the Scriptures - 1 Co 10:10 ; Ph 2:14-15 [So much unhappiness is the result of discontent in our own lives. If we wish to overcome discontent, we must look to the One who helps us overcome the world...] II. FAITH IN JESUS HELPS US TO OVERCOME DISCONTENT A. JESUS PROVIDES CONTENTMENT... 1. Through His teachings... a. By telling us what is truly important in life 1) Not material abundance - Lk 12:13-15 2) But being rich toward God! - Lk 12:16-21 b. By telling us to lay up our treasure in heaven 1) For earthly treasures will decay or be stolen - Mt 6:19 2) Whereas treasures in heaven are safely guarded - Mt 6: 20; cf. 1 Pe 1:4 -- Thus ensuring that our hearts are set upon that which cannot be destroyed - Mt 6:21 2. Through His promises... a. Promising to always be with us - Mt 28:20 ; cf. He 13:5-6 b. Promising God's providential care - Mt 6:30-33 ; 7:7-11; 10:29-31 B. THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS, THE CHRISTIAN CAN BE CONTENT... 1. Even as Paul was content - cf. Ph 4:11-13 a. It was something he learned as a disciple of Christ! b. It was something he had through the power of Christ! 2. It has been said that "Contentment is the power to get out of any situation all there is in it." a. Paul had certainly made the best of his imprisonment! - cf. Ph 1:12-14 b. He saw how his circumstances enhanced that which was truly important - the spread of the gospel! 2. It has also been said that "Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have." a. If anyone realized how blessed he was, it was the apostle Paul! b. For he served his God who could supply all one's needs! - cf. Ph 4:19 c. Even when he knew his life was near its end - cf. 2 Ti 4:18 CONCLUSION 1. "All the world lives in two tents--content and discontent." a. Which "tent" do you live in? b. Paul, as a disciple of Jesus, lived in a constant state of contentment c. A contentment learned and enjoyed through his relationship with God through Jesus Christ 2. He encourages us to follow his example, if we desire to have the same relationship with God - cf. Ph 4:9 a. To learn of his "ways in Christ" which he taught in every church - 1 Co 4:16-17 b. Such "ways" certainly included those taught by our Lord Himself! If we desire to overcome discontent, then let's be inspired by the example of Paul who wrote: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Ga 2:20 ) When one can truly say they "live by faith in the Son of God", then "Faith Is The Victory!" in overcoming discontent!