Righteous Discontent: 3 Thoughts on Why God Unsettles Us
Has God planted a seed of discontent within you?
1 Timothy 6:7-8 says: For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
Discontent has many forms. When money rules our discourse, discontent rears its ugly head and we become a slave to discontent. When we get excited about plans, but lack the resources to accomplish them, sometimes we can fall into the trap of believing that progress is always righteousness, no matter the cost.
I believe discontent can come from God if it finds its genesis in the pressing needs in our world. There we can find an intersection with the resources of God and our heart for the Gospel to rescue our society needs.
When that unsettled feeling comes from God, we have the difficult path to follow God’s ways in solving the discontent crisis. Christianity is not an ends justifies the means type of ideology. It is not often the fastest path to resolution, but it does give us life lessons and growth along the way.
Here are some lessons from 1 Timothy that can teach us about the discontent crises we face in this world:
(1) Godly discontent should remind us of the lack that someone faces.
No, we shouldn’t always be thinking about how to give people more stuff. The lack we should be addressing are people’s hopelessness, powerlessness, persecution, injustice, and salvation.
An uncaring world is an uncaring world. Less is not always more. Bringing nothing into the world should be a stark reminder that life isn’t in the possessions, but in the accumulation of the saving grace of Jesus and the opportunities to make that a more present reality in the life of those around us. No matter the governmental system, economic system, or judicial system, no one system is perfect because apart from Christ no person is perfect and sin will always find a way to exploit the lack in someone’s life. As those gaps change and evolve and often cycle back over the course of generations, God raises up the Christian to critically examine the world around him/her so as to move them to action.
How has God showed you someone’s lack? Has He equipped you to address it or intervene as to show them a path toward redemption and restoration? It is God’s gift to have a heart for the brokenness of this world.
Don’t be afraid to pray for someone’s circumstances, because in it, you might find your method.
The helplessness we see in a newborn baby can give way to nothingness.
(2) Godly discontent can remind us that this life does matter
If you can’t take anything out of this world, does anything really matter in this life? Absolutely.
Life will not be judged in the accumulation of unimportant things, but in the important matters. If this life didn’t matter, God wouldn’t have created us and gone through the agonizing process of human redemption. But, God believes that all humanity has value, and so should we. Value needs to be brought back into line with the heart of God and His revealed will for us. There is plenty of Scripture that talks about the important matters of God, justice, holiness, assurance, and hope. If we get these things right, God will be pleased.
(3) Satisfaction is a state of mind
I believe that being materially content should be the goal of all people. God’s will provides all that we need to satisfy the day and bring peaceful rest at night. It’s discouraging to know that people go to bed at night agonizing about how they can accumulate more stuff.
What if the things that kept us up at night has no monetary value attached to them, but the Kingdom value of sainthood, the celebratory value of repentance and forgiveness, and the notion that God’s Gospel can give us rest.
God is the reason satisfaction is a state of mind. How do we help people understand this?
When discontent comes to us in order to address a pressing need in our world, there we can find an intersection with the resources of God and our heart for the Gospel rescue our society needs. Food and clothing don’t seem like much, but they are a symbol of what we take for granted. Hope, justice, and salvation don’t seem like much to a lot of us, but they are the present reality that there are often two worlds that never overlap. Where they don’t overlap, God calls us to make them collide. Amen.