Financial contentment is not based entirely on the amount of our income.
If our relationship with the Lord is growing, our basic needs are met and we are handling our money responsibly, we have the foundation for leading a contented life. Being content does not mean we should cease from becoming more financially successful. Nor does it mean that we will never desire to make another purchase. However, if we allow sin to become a part of our lives or our budget is skewed by indulging in over-purchasing, any hope for contentment is destroyed.
Achieving success in our careers, obtaining a nice home, a new car and vacation trips are common goals of young people. As we grow older, we are keenly aware how often our youthful dreams and ambitions fall short of reality. Some reasons for this are the choices we have made along the way. If God is not in the equation, our plans are doomed to be less that satisfying, even if we are successful in acquiring the earthly possessions that seem to be so important to our happiness.
Being a Christian does not alter the fact that we may be discontented and wonder why the feeling of satisfaction seems to be elusive. There is no easy answer to this dilemma. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11 (NIV), “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” He is speaking about more than just his financial state, but money is certainly part of his meaning in this verse. The Bible also tells us in Hebrews 13:5 (NIV), “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have….”
Society urges immediate fulfillment of our wishes.
Self-control to wait until we can pay for a purchase is often ignored. Using credit cards like a checkbook can become a way of life and will cause havoc with our financial health. Financial bondage can result. If our spending is controlled by what we desire rather than what we can afford, we will never find contentment.
Moving into a smaller residence to reduce financial stress can be a freeing experience. It forces a person to do away with items that are not suitable for the new home. Realizing how many of our precious positions are dispensable may help us have a better insight into what is important. However, the test can come when we are hit with a desire to redecorate our new residence and replace some of the furniture to match our new décor. Ooops! Our endeavors to live within our means just went out the window, and we may be back on the out-of-control purchasing track.
Without monetary discipline, contentment is just a dream. Balance between what we need, what we desire and what we can afford can only be achieved if our relationship with the Lord is an important part of our daily lives.
Some areas to consider are:
Do we ask the Lord to help us manage our finances?
Do we honor the Lord by tithing?
Do we have a budget and do we stick to it?
We need to be responsible with the funds we have and keep our priorities right.
Our lives can then reflect the contentment our Lord will provide when we are using our income in the way that is pleasing to Him.
Even in our “must have now” society, financial contentment is possible.