Where do we draw the line between contentment and progress?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

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My wife and I have been talking about how difficult in life it is to be content.  What does it mean to be content?  Does it mean to be satisfied?  Much of the time people struggle with being satisfied.  Life can be going along just fine, yet a disatisfaction creeps over us and causes us to stir it up, as if to say this is not good enough.

Im not talking about people who have nothing, or who are struggling.  I know people who create struggles because internally they are discontent, and disatisfied.  The truth is this is an internal problem.  It literally has nothing to do with external things.  People at all levels of life and from all different places in life struggle with this.  Its killing marriages, businesses, churches, governments, individuals.  Discontentment reveals an internal void.

Don’t misunderstand me to be saying that contentment and satisfaction means you should never try to do or be better, not at all.   I know people who never make an effort and are discontent, I also know people who are constantly working it out, and struggle being content.

Discontent with our lives, our friends, our spouses, our children, on and on leads to one place.  Isolation.  Being discontented is a vicous cycle that leads to our being disconnected and  shrinks our lives into lonliness, which is the fruit of never being satisfied.

The apostle Paul tells us that contentment is very important in our lives.  That no matter what our state is we should not find ourselves struggling and striving.  It’s not things or people or money that satisfies, it’s Jesus.  No matter what your situtation you can be content, because contentment, and satisfaction are all about internal peace, and when we know the prince of peace, we are settled, we are satisfied, we are content.

So move forward, grow and develop, but don’t expect progress or growth to satisfy.  Don’t expect people, things or money to satisfy, those are all externals.  All those things can be blessings in your life, but only one can give you peace.  Get to know Jesus, and in Him contentment can be found.

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