We humans tend to be creatures of extremes. It seems we often struggle with either end of the same spectrum. Case in point: discontentment and complacency. Some folks never seem to be content in their lot or place in life. They are restless and dissatisfied, always looking for that next thing, rarely able to really enjoy what they have or have achieved. Others swing way past contentment on the pendulum and are so comfortable and complacent that they can’t see there are more and better things just beyond their reach. (Frankly complacency is nothing more than self-satisfaction.)
These extremes are especially troublesome in our spiritual lives, though usually the rest of our lives reflect where we are at spiritually. In reality discontentment and complacency are two sides of the same coin, sharing the same root cause and resolution. Paul, in the Bible, addresses both of these issues in his letter to the Philippians.
In chapter four he declares that he has discovered the secret of contentment in every situation, whether he is well fed or hungry; regardless of whether he has plenty or is in want. But earlier, in chapter three, he admits that he has not yet reached where he can be or wants to be spiritually, but instead he continues to reach with all his might for more.
How can a man, within the same letter no less, express two seemingly opposite positions? It’s because the secret he discovered and the goal he is pressing on towards is one in the same: Jesus. The oxymoronic truth is that when my desire to know Jesus better drives me into an ever increasingly intimate relationship with him I will find contentment regardless of what circumstance comes my way. He is both my source of satisfaction and what fuels my hunger for more.
Where are you on the spectrum? Are you dissatisfied or frustrated with your life? Or, conversely, have you settled for being comfortable and self-satisfied, especially in religion? You will find both the secret of contentment and the motivation to reach for higher and greater things in the same person if you are willing to put him as your first priority.