When not desiring to be anywhere other than where God had called me (Michigan), there were plenty of other distractions preventing me from enjoying life. Everywhere I turned there was something I thought I needed to be happy. All of my friends were married. Everyone seemed to have perfect children. Our family lived in a small house with one bathroom and I often had no idea how the bills would be paid. As much as God had blessed us, there was always something we didn’t have! Then one day as I was driving down the road to my house, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. He said, “Look around. You’re living in the garden.”
“Lord, are you serious? This is not the garden of Eden. This is Michigan!”
“Look around. You’re living in the garden.”
As I thought about it, I began to understand. In the garden of Eden, Adam walked and talked with the Lord. Now because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are also able to live in the presence of God! He has provided a garden of contentment for us here on earth, but few find the secret of dwelling there. The gate into that garden is thankfulness and praise as we recognize that the Lord is all we need (see Psalm 100).
At the same time, there is an enemy of our souls who wants to keep us out of the garden of contentment. Just as the serpent deceived Eve, Satan will try to deceive us into thinking there is something God has neglected to give us that will make us happy. Like Adam and Eve, if we eat of the fruit of Satan’s lies we will forfeit the grace God has provided through Jesus Christ.
In our Instagram world, it’s easy to become jealous of what others have. There will always be someone who seems to have exactly what we want, but what we see is only a facade. When we covet, we are loving the object of our desire more than we love the Lord. In fact, jealousy and envy are really the highest form of ingratitude toward God because it’s putting our will and desires above His. This is such a serious sin that when the Israelites envied Moses and Aaron in the Old Testament, the earth opened up and swallowed them (see Psalm 106:16–17)!
But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (James 3:14–16)
So what should we do when we see others enjoying what we wish for? To live in contentment, we must keep the Lord centered in the garden of our hearts. By choosing to worship the perfect One in the midst of our imperfect world, we are trusting Him to provide what is best for us.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. (Phil. 4:11)
Today you have the power to dismantle the plans of the enemy with the weapons of praise, thankfulness, and blessing. Discontentment can be destroyed as you praise God for being the Lord of your life. The stronghold of complaining will fall as you thank Him for His providence to you! You call forth God’s blessing in your own life as you bless those who have what you desire. Let’s ask the Lord to show us any area of our hearts that may have become hardened or ungrateful. He can change us even if our circumstances never change.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Tim. 6:6)
Father, forgive me for looking to myself and others rather than fixing my eyes on You. Forgive me for envying what others have instead of trusting Your love completely! Help me worship You in this moment by choosing contentment and thankfulness in all You have provided. Thank You for being all I need today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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