“We will be content if we truly embrace the fact that we have God!” (Kent Hughes).
Recently, my daughter bought something she calls ‘fake pods’. These in-ear headphones seemed completely legit—they came from a reputable retailer and never pretended to be more than they were. But they lasted three months, then packed it in. Turns out they were a complete waste of money. These ‘fake pods’ were a second-rate version of the real thing. In the end, my daughter waited until black Friday and bought the real thing.
Maybe it’s obvious to you that a knock-off brand wouldn’t deliver. But then, this is exactly what we’re like with God sometimes. Why do we strive after fake, second-rate gods (the Bible calls these ‘idols’) when we have the real deal? Why do we settle for less than God when He offers us the very best, which is none other than Himself?
Last week, I recommended a wee book on contentment by Erik Raymond. In the book, Raymond says: “Discontent comes because we are restless, unhappy, unsatisfied. . . .” If we’re unsatisfied with what we’ve been given, then we’re really unsatisfied with God, the Giver of every gift (James 1:17).
Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’”
If the source of our contentment is the Lord himself—the One who promises to never leave nor forsake us—then we will have joy that transcends our circumstances. This is because our contentment isn’t based on our circumstances, but rather is firmly embedded in the Lord Himself. That’s how Paul can say in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. . . .”
As Christians, we will only find true contentment when we recognise that it comes from God. He is the source of our contentment. So we rest in His care and trust that He knows best. But I know that this is easier said than done. Trouble is, all too often we secretly think we know better than God.
Worship and Trust
Like Paul, we can be content—whatever our circumstances—simply because we have God. We’re known and loved by a Father who will never leave us nor forsake us. Think through what you know about Paul: he went through times that were beyond hard. He wasn’t writing about contentment from a cushy first-century mansion. He was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor. 6:10). Paul showed, time and time again, that his contentment was rooted in God, not his circumstances.
Simply put, what I am saying is: God is enough. Let’s look at Hebrews 13:5–6 a little more closely.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So, we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’”
Notice the word at the beginning of verse six: so. A lot hangs on that little word—we have confidence because we are saved by Christ, grafted into His family, and are recipients of all the inheritance in Christ and a hope for the future. Therefore, since we have God, we can take comfort in the following three things:
1. The Lord is my Helper. Who better is there to help us than the Creator of the universe? The God who spoke planets into being. We need to remind ourselves daily of our dependence on Him and submit to His provision and help. We need to trust Him because He is trustworthy.
2. I don’t need to be afraid. No matter what’s going on in our lives—whether we have plenty or are in need—we can rest knowing that God is intimately involved. Nothing that happens to us surprises Him. His great love should bring deep comfort. He loved us enough to send Christ to die for us. And Christ’s death was not an accident; it was God’s plan from before the ages began. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
3. Our hope is secure. God’s love for us never diminishes or falters. His faithfulness endures forever. Therefore, our salvation is secure in Him alone. With this as our foundation, it drives the reality of the end of verse six home: “What can mere mortals do to me?” To which we know the answer is: nothing, eternally.
An old dead guy, Arthur Pink, put it like this: “Contentment is the product of a heart resting in God… It is the blessed assurance that God does all things well, and is, even now, making all things work together for my ultimate good.”
Are you resting in God? Content that He’s got a plan, got it sorted, will be with you, will help you persevere? Are you filled with a blessed assurance that what is going on now, no matter what it is, is for your ultimate good and His glory? You can be assured—no matter what—that God is absolutely enough for all your todays, tomorrows, and ‘forevers’.