Philippians 4:10-14 – Finding Contentment in Christ

Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols.
Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the LORD.
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
(Jeremiah 2:11-13)

It’s one of the saddest passages in the Bible. God’s people, made to love, worship and delight in him, have done two stupid and evil things. They have turned away from God, “the spring of living water”, and they have turned aside to idols, “broken cisterns that cannot hold water”.

Discontent is nothing less than idolatry. It shows we depend on other things for the satisfaction, security and significance that can only come ultimately from God. It’s deserting our glorious God for worthless idols. Even the heavens are appalled at this! They “shudder with great horror”. Yet we do it every day and don’t think twice about it.

Next time discontent creeps into our lives, it might help to remember we’re committing idolatry. Or, to put it another way, we’re committing adultery, sleeping around behind God’s back, looking for joy in the arms of other lovers. The appropriate response isn’t to shrug our shoulders as if it’s no big deal. It’s mourning and repentance.

Seeking contentment in other things besides God is a great evil. It should disgust us.

But looking for contentment apart from God isn’t just evil: it also leaves us empty, because idols can never deliver what they promise. They are leaky wells, always running out of water.

My guess is that Jesus had Jeremiah in mind when he talked to the woman at the well (I wonder if it’s no coincidence that she was at a well). She was seeking contentment in broken relationship after broken relationship – relationships that never delivered what they promised, like leaky wells. But Jesus says, “Ask me and I will give you living water” – water that never fails (John 4:10 cf 7:37-39).

It makes sense. The people and things around us can’t make us content. Relationships fail. Achievements fade. Experiences disappoint. What we need is something or someone above these things that they can’t touch, that never runs out or changes. And there’s only one Someone like that.

Leaky wells. Living water. I know which one I want.

The question at the heart of contentment is this: where do we look for satisfaction, security and significance? We have a choice. We can look for them in people and things that can’t deliver what they promise. Or we can look for them in Jesus, who gives us living water that never fails.

Jean Williams

Heart Preparation
Read Philippians 4:10-14. Where are you looking for satisfaction, security, and significance? Are you looking for them in Jesus? How can you begin to renew your mind in a God-ward pursuit?

Remember, this week we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. How can you prepare your heart in recognition of the significance of this observance? Is there someone you need to pursue reconciliation with before you would be able to take of the supper?

Posted on: June 26, 2015 - 7:44AM

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