Apr 02, 2018

Easter and Your Contentment

Easter is generally considered to be a pretty significant holiday for most people. It can include a celebration of spring, an excuse for a new dress, an Easter bunny, Easter eggs, and above all a reminder of the death and resurrection of Jesus. What we may not realize is that Easter is also the remedy for discontentment.

What is discontentment? Before we can answer that, we need to know what contentment is. Here is how Noah Webster defined it, “Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint.” So, to be content is to be able to rest in, be satisfied in, or be at peace with your circumstances. This does not mean that you are necessarily happy about how everything is going. It does not mean that you would not change something if you could. It just means that you are able to be at peace with your circumstances.

So, what is it to be discontent? It means that you are not at all at peace with what is happening in your life. One of the main ways that we can tell we are discontent is that we are not “restraining complaint”. We complain because we feel like we are not being paid enough in our job. We complain because we feel like we deserve a promotion, or some recognition and we don’t get it. We complain because we think other people are acting badly and no one is doing anything about it. We complain because other people’s cars, smartphones, clothes, houses, jobs, etc. are better than ours. (Of course, daily we are bombarded by advertisers trying to convince us that what they are selling is better than what we have and we deserve better.)

Discontentment is one of the great American pastimes. But there is a big problem here. The Bible says that it is a sin. The tenth commandment says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife nor his male servant nor his maid servant nor his ox nor his donkey nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” In other words, be satisfied with what you have. Be content. So how do we deal with the problem of discontentment?

That is where Easter comes in. One of the big problems we encounter in discontentment is that we think that we deserve better. We deserve to be healthy, we deserve to be respected, we deserve more money—that is the glasses we wear. But let’s put on some different glasses for a moment. Let’s look through the lens of what happened on Good Friday. That is the day that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified. Why was He crucified? It was because some people hated the things He was teaching. Some people lied about Him so that He would be declared guilty of treason. Some people stirred up a fickle crowd to shout out “Crucify Him”. As a result, Jesus Christ was brutally scourged and died an extremely painful and humiliating death. He didn’t deserve that.

But the reason Jesus died goes deeper than that. God the Father ordained that His Son would die as a substitute for sinners. Jesus was perfectly holy and righteous and did not deserve anything that happened to him on Good Friday. But Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice for sinners. Since God is righteous, it is perfectly just that sinners be punished for their sin. So, the painful and shameful death of the cross that Jesus endured was on behalf of sinners like you and me. In other words, that is what every one of us deserve. All of it.

So, when we catch ourselves complaining about things—remember the cross. What Jesus endured is what all of us deserve. It is hard to complain when you remember that you deserve hell. But salvation through faith in Christ is the perfect remedy for a discontented heart. May the Lord enable us to rest in and be eternally satisfied with Christ.