The Poison of Discontentment
Take a minute and consider the good things in your life. Rich friendships, your job, your savings, family, etc. All of these things come from the gracious and loving hand of God, who provides good things both to his children and his enemies. Now consider how often marketing gurus sell you the idea that these good things aren’t enough. I’m no stranger to this, especially since I’ve lived so long in New York City. Everywhere I turn I see an image that hints to me that my appearance isn’t good enough, my wife isn’t “hot” enough, I don’t earn enough, my iPod is out of date, blah, blah, blah.
Advertising isn’t simply an attempt to sell a product, it creates false neeeds. The only thing free is that whopping dose of discontentment, generously dispensed of course. Our culture is so anti-intellect that products cannot possibly be sold on the sole basis of their merits. So instead what’s sold is a vision of life. What’s amazing is how most of these visions at peddled at the sub-conscious level, where words and propositions are considerably weakened in their persuasive power.
These visions of the good life don’t primarily shape our thoughts, they shape our desires, our longings, our passions. The goal is to make up into Apple-people, Nike-people, Starbucks people.
But do we really need all of this stuff? Have we really fallen for the lie that says more stuff will make us happier? I know in many aspects of my life I have. It’s not something that I rejoice in. According to Paul, God ordered our lives in such a fashion that where, when, and how we are are the result of his all-knowing, all-loving plan Cf. Acts 17).
Are you looking for someone, something other than Jesus to be your function messiah, the One that will take all of the discontent away and usher peace into your life? The Apostle Paul also faced those temptations, and his words are a beacon of light:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Fight the fight against discontentment. Cling to Christ as your all-surpassing treasure. Partner with his people as they live a pilgrim life in this broken and dissatisfied world.