A spirit of discontentment is warring against the family, but we have a picture of a contented family in Psalm 128.
Contentment is an inner sufficiency that keeps us at peace, in spite of outward circumstances. When he was in a Philippian jail, the Apostle Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound” (Philippians 4:11b-12a).
What Destroys Contentment?
The last of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17a). Covetousness is unlawful desire that comes out of discontent.
It is deceptive.
You may look so holy, but have a heart eaten up with covetousness—and not even know it.
It is debasing.
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). Notice the company that covetousness keeps.
It is destructive.
“Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-11).
What Defines Contentment?
- Faith for the family. “Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways” (Psalm 128:1). The secret of satisfaction is God Himself. (Two great verses for your family worship and your refrigerator door are Hebrews 13:5 and Psalm 73:25-26.)
- Fellowship for the family. “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table” (Psalm 128:3). You can’t take your riches to Heaven, but you can take your children.
- Food for the family. “When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you” (Psalm 128:2). If you would be content, let your home ring with love and laughter, conversation and fun, and be content with the simpler things of life.
What Develops Contentment?
Paul shows in Philippians 4:11 that contentment must be learned.
- Learn to trust God. “Blessed is every one who fears the LORD” (Psalm 128:1a). If you don’t trust the Lord, if your family is not God-centered, then it is no wonder that you are discontent.
- Learn to thank. “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD” (Psalm 128:3-4). Thank you, Lord, for this food, for my wife, for my children.
- Learn to love. “The LORD bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life” (Psalm 128:5). This is not just for your own family. Lift up your eyes, look at people who are in need, and learn to love. A contented person loves people rather than things.
- Learn to give. May God have mercy on the spirit of greed in our hearts, and make us understand that all we have has come from God! “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness” (Psalm 24:1a).
If you do not have a contented home, it doesn’t matter what else you do have. Pray now that God your Father would cultivate a spirit of gratefulness in your heart, and root out any covetousness.