On Contentment and Idolatry

I have struggled with some situations in our lives recently, and my old insecurities have popped up. I won’t go into those, but I will say that I’ve dealt with them for far too long. I’m not proud of the fact that I continue to fight the same battles over and over, but I am taking steps to deal with these things once and for all. The bottom line is that I must change my thinking by taking God at His Word and choosing to think, speak, and act according to what He says, not what my imagination can come up with (which is some pretty wild stuff, let me tell you).

 One thing that keeps coming up in my life is the desire to hold onto stuff. I’m not talking about clutter, cleaning out, and reorganizing. I’m doing a lot of that, and it feels good to get rid of it!

What I am talking about is getting fearful when I “what if” myself into a situation that means I might not have everything I have today. I even get sucked into thinking about what others have that we don’t. (It doesn’t happen often, but it happens.) The problem with this is that it shows that I’m not content with what God thinks I should have at any given time. He has never failed to provide us with everything we need, so there’s absolutely no reason for me to have such a mental stranglehold on stuff.

I don’t remember exactly what our pastor preached about last month, but it brought all of this to my mind again. And then I realized what was really happening:

My lack of contentment is a form of idolatry.

Every time I choose to fret about what I have or don’t have, or about what I may or may not have in the future, I make a choice to not be content with what God has provided. That implies that I know better than He does what I need each day and that He’s not doing a good job of providing for me. It also places stuff ahead of God in my thoughts, and that is idolatry.

Since that realization, I have repented and am continuing my journey of replacing my thoughts with His thoughts by spending time reading and meditating on the Word and by paying attention to what I’m thinking about and allowing to take priority in my mind.

It’s a battle, but it’s one I’m determined to win. I know I can, with His help.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

How do you win the battle to keep your thoughts focused and positive?

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8 Responses to On Contentment and Idolatry

  1. What a beautiful post. I love what you said, “It also places stuff ahead of God in my thoughts, and that is idolatry.” Wow. We can replace the word “stuff” with so many different things – worry, fear, our kids.
    I have always struggled with not giving into fear and grasping God’s love. (I believe that when we do grasp it, a lot of our wrong thinking is destroyed.) In my journal I’ve created 3 different lists: Who I am, Who He is, and God’s Promises. As I read my Bible, I add verses to the appropriate lists. There’s nothing like reminding myself that I am a daughter, an heir of God through Christ (Gal. 4:7 – who I am), that He is the One who Goes before me (Deut. 31:8- who He is), and that because I have been made righteous in Christ, my earnest prayers are powerful (James 5:16 His Promises) to refocus my thoughts onto the One who gives all these good gifts. His word is so powerful, it’s nice to have verses like these on hand whenever I need to firm up my foundation.

    • I struggle with fear and realizing how much He loves me too, Kimberly. I also agree that when I really *get* it, I won’t struggle with my thoughts as much. I’ve said that over and over again during the past couple of years.

      I love your journaling idea! Do you mind if I borrow that? I definitely need to fill my mind with His Word so I can get my thoughts lined up correctly.

  2. Kelly says:

    Amen Jennifer! Lay it down girl, lay it down..

  3. Stephanie says:

    Jennifer, this post is beautiful. I get it. Truly. This is such a poignant post. Every morning I read Proverbs 31 as a reminder of what God provides: husbands, love, food, clothing, children, etc. It keeps it in perspective – He provides.

    Lay it down, take a deep breath, and remember our spiritual cup needs to be full!

    • Thank you, Stephanie! I think it’s a great idea to read Proverbs 31 each morning as you start the day. I’m doing much better with being thankful for THIS day and the provision for TODAY. I’m working on filling my spiritual cup and keeping it full all day, every day.

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